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Carroll’s Column: Aaron Rodgers Makes Headlines Off-The-Field Once Again

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

NEW YORK — There are athletes who understand their significance behind a microphone, and then there are others who don’t — making for unnecessary trending headlines in the sports and news industries. Example A: Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. ​​

Aaron Rodgers will undoubtedly get a bust one day in the Pro Football of Fame located in Canton, Ohio based on his career with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers is a bust, however, when he opines on subjects other than football.       

Rodgers has long been a COVID-19 vaccines skeptic even though he does not have a science degree. In fairness, there are some in the medical community who share his beliefs. What angered everyone two years ago, however, was Rodgers claiming he was “immunized” against COVID-19, indicating he did get vaccinated. He would eventually concede he was misleading people.

He poked fun at Kansas City Chiefs tight end, and Taylor Swift boyfriend, Travis Kelce, by referring to him as “Mr. Pfizer” for his television commercials urging people to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza.      

Fast forward to last Tuesday when Aaron Rodgers made his weekly appearance on Pat McAfee’s ESPN show. McAfee’s production company allegedly compensates Rodgers $1,000,000 for these appearances. McAfee is paid around $17 million annually by ESPN.

Pat McAfee – Image Credit: ESPN/AP Photos

Having Rodgers had been a worthwhile investment because his remarks, which were mostly NFL-related, generated buzz, especially in New York since Rodgers is now a member of the Jets.      

Things quickly went off the rails on Rodgers’ first McAfee appearance of 2024. Unexpectedly, Rodgers brought up how a court was going to finally release the infamous “Jeffrey Epstein list.” He then said ABC late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, would not be happy. Rodgers was not pleased how Kimmel tore him apart in his monologue two years ago about his COVID-19 immunization claims.      

Kimmel went on social media to threaten Rodgers with a lawsuit. My guess is that will never happen. Both Rodgers and Kimmel are public figures which raises the bar for winning any legal actions. Rodgers never explicitly said Kimmel’s name would be on the Epstein list; only that he would be unhappy. That could easily mean he would not like hearing the names of those who share his political leanings on it such as former president, Bill Clinton.     

Jimmy Kimmel – Image Credit: CBS News

Pat McAfee quickly found himself in a difficult situation. He realized both he and Kimmel work for the Disney Corporation. He also knew both ESPN CEO James Pitaro and Disney chief Bob Iger would be livid, which they were. McAfee apologized to Jimmy Kimmel the next day. Rodgers’ status as a weekly guest was unclear.   

Jets players voted Rodgers as their most inspirational player two days later even though missed practically all the 2023 season. Rodgers has been a good mentor. He properly called out the Jets equipment staff for not packing the right cleats for the players in their December 28th loss to the Browns in Cleveland.     

Aaron Rodgers in Jets Mini Camp this past summer – Image Credit: New York Jets/NFL

Aaron Rodgers’ new year’s resolution should be to limit his public remarks to football. 

Mets sign Harrison Bader to one-year deal

The Mets made a smart pickup last week when they signed free agent center fielder Harrison Bader to a one-year, $10.5 million contract. Bader is an excellent fielder, and he should take some pressure off corner outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte. 

While he is best known for his glove, Bader is not an easy out. I remember him collecting many clutch hits with his former teams, the Cardinals, and the Yankees. He rarely swings at bad pitches. 

Harrison Bader during his Yankees tenure, 2023 regular season matchup against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

The biggest concern regarding Harrison Bader is whether he can stay healthy, as he has spent too large a portion of the last two seasons on the injured list. Mets fans have reason to be wary of the Bader signing simply because of the inordinate number of injuries to key personnel the Mets sustain every year. 

In a move which will not get them any closer to overtaking either the Phillies or the Braves, the Mets have signed veteran starting pitcher Sean Manaea who played for the Giants last year. The Mets starting rotation was quite thin, and Manaea is an upgrade over Carlos Carrasco, so I understand the thinking of Mets baseball president of operations, David Stearns.      

Former Met Luis Guillorme agrees to one-year contract with Braves

Former utility Mets infielder Luis Guillorme, who was cut by the team after the 2023 season, signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Luis Guillorme in 2023 regular season matchup at Citi Field – Image Credit: Simon Lindenblatt/Latino Sports

Many Mets fans on social media immediately predicted he would become an All-Star the way former Mets catcher, and current Braves backstop, Travis d’Arnaud has.     

CBS Sports NFL Today at Manhattan’s Paley Center on Wednesday, January 17th

CBS Sports “NFL Today” anchors Nate Burleson, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, and Phil Simms, along with sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, will be panelists at Manhattan’s Paley Center on Wednesday, January 17. CBS holds the broadcast rights to this year’s Super Bowl. Expect retiring CBS Sports CEO Sean McManus to reveal details about his network’s plans for Super Sunday. For ticket information, log onto paleycenter.org

The Super Bowl Soulful Celebration 25th Anniversary on Saturday, February 11th

The co-stars of CBS’s “The Neighborhood,” Cedric the Entertainer, and Jamaica, Queens native, Tichina Arnold, will co-host “The Super Bowl Soulful Celebration 25th Anniversary.” The special will air Saturday evening, February 11, on the eve of the Super Bowl.    

CW Network debuts “I Am Chris Farley”

This past Saturday, the CW Network debuted a two-hour documentary on the life of the late comic actor, Chris Farley, simply titled “I Am Chris Farley.” There were, of course, clips from his memorable “Saturday Night Live” skits, and from his two big films, “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.” Former SNL cast members Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, and David Spade provided recollections which expressed admiration for his talents but in a somber way.

Image Credit: CW Network

What is disappointing is how the documentary producers seemed to go out of their way to avoid mentioning Farley’s admiration for SNL legend John Belushi who also succumbed to drugs and alcohol addiction at the age of thirty-three. “I Am Chris Farley” can be seen on demand at cwtv.com     

2024 New York International Auto Show coming soon: March 29th-April 7th

The 2024 New York International Auto Show will run from March 29 to April 7 at the Javits Center. For those who want to get a head start to check out the newest car models, the Philadelphia Auto Show gets underway this Saturday and runs until Sunday, January 21. It takes place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City. For more information, log onto phillyautoshow.com     

Go Get Your Mightylicious Cookies! 

Everyone knows the new year is the time for resolutions, and most of them involve vows for a healthier lifestyle. Mightylicious (mightylicious.com) cookies are handcrafted in Long Island City. They are gluten-free, have less sugar than mass-produced confections, and they are kosher. Some of their cookie lines are vegan. The best thing is they are tasty, so you do not feel as if you are sacrificing anything in the quest for better eating.

You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.

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