OPINION: SHOULD RODGERS BE PUNISHED?

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be the smartest guy in the room, but he’s not the only smart person there. When he’s addressing sports writers, I would attest that there are several of them. 

But he chose to ignore all of them, lying about his protection from COVID-19, appearing maskless and putting them all in jeopardy of the virus he eventually would contract. 

Did he care? No. Instead he lied. He said he had been immunized, which, at the time he said it, was interpreted by the media as him being vaccinated. Only, he wasn’t. 

He was a liar. The NFL ruled, before the season began, that the protection he said he utilized was based on his antibody levels this summer, but left his status as unvaccinated and not a deterrent to the disease. 

He was ordered to wear a mask whenever he appeared before people, such as at press conferences. But he didn’t. It has been reported he also didn’t wear one at the team’s Halloween party, which was another requirement. 

His team, the Green Bay Packers, is trying to keep him as a member although he has said he wants to move on. After all, he is one of the league’s best quarterbacks and its reigning Most Valuable Player. His coach, Matt LaFleur, another liar, said he was oblivious to what went on outside his immediate purview — such as at those press conferences. 

Rodgers, who has already lost some commercial sponsorship, must be punished by the NFL — if he hasn’t been already. He deserves to be fined, suspended and ordered — again — to wear a mask. While they’re at it, the NFL should also punish the team and its coach. 

Rodgers has been one of my favorite players. I have enjoyed watching him, at times rooting for him and applauding him. 

No more. 

While we’re at it, let’s talk about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s trouble in Cleveland. Well, his problems aren’t the Browns’ any more, as the player, who was a standout earlier with the New York Giants, has forced Cleveland to redo his contract and place him on waivers, in essence releasing him.

Beckham’s father publicly criticized quarterback Baker Mayfield for not throwing passes his son’s way. Beckham kept mostly quiet. So did the quarterback, who comes out the winner in this brouhaha. 

Beckham was wrong. He could have made the Browns a better team and Mayfield a better quarterback, but he let his ego (and father) rule the day. 

I will say this, however. When I was a good, not great, high school basketball player, my mother, Helen Morrow, attended every game and criticized every move the coach, Art Thomas, made against her son. Except her complaints were made within the walls of our home. If those ramblings had made it to the coach’s ears, I would have supported her wholeheartedly. Blood is thicker than … well, you know. 

One more rant, sort of. ESPN, which has reduced its staff by several numbers over the past year or so, decided to put its resources behind investigating an NBA owner. Its writer found that the owner had used indecent language to comment on black players and women associated with the team. In other words, he established a hostile work environment. It became the lead item on all of the ESPN news programs. No problem with that except on the NBA Today program, newscasters Malika Andrews and Ramona Shelburne were pejorative. In other words, the newscasters found the executive guilty without a trial. 

That’s not the way to report a news story. Just the facts. 

Enough for today. I’d be interested in your opinion. Just email your comments to me at [email protected].


KEY WEST UPDATES

Mekhi Sargent now on Rams’ practice squad

Key West High School grad Mekhi Sargent is no longer a member of the Tennessee Titans. He’s with the Los Angeles Rams, for now. After a stellar preseason with the Titans, the running back was signed to a contract and played in the first three games of the NFL season, gaining two yards in each of two games.

Since those games, he did not make an appearance in a game and was waived on Oct. 23, but

signed to Tennessee’s practice squad on Oct. 28. Eight days later, on Nov. 5, he moved again,

signed to the Rams’ practice team, where he has remained this week.

Also, Key West’s current football team wrapped up its season on Nov. 5, with a 54-35

non-district loss in its homecoming game. That gave the Conchs a 5-5 record on the season but a 2-1 District win-loss record and a shot at being named to the state playoffs. (See homecoming game photos on page 34.)

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Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.