Sailing the Seas of Cheese: The Language of Friendship
So apparently Aaron Rodgers owes somewhere between $4.5 Million and $100 Million to every greedy little Tweeter on the internet demanding that he personally pay him for that ill-advised Tweet he issued along the lines of having so much faith in Ryan Braun’s innocence that he would “put his salary next year on it.” Of course that means every person on the internet now thinks they had this personal bet with the guy and are demanding payment, though some want to seem more magnanimous in their greed and demanding he pony up to a charity. Others are rushing the castle with pitchforks and torches ready to nail him to the nearest tree for such hubris, arrogance, asshatery, poo not stinking, and other assorted declarations that are lobbed when someone is drunk on the bravery that goes hand in hand with the anonymity of Twitter. Funny how the Internet gives us all the balls to say things we would not normally say in person.
Same goes for Aaron Rodgers, I guess.
Should Rodgers have said something that dumb? That’s up to Aaron to decide. My house isn’t made of glass, but considering a lot of its eastern exposure is, I won’t be the first tossing stones or anything. If I actually ate my shoe each time I was on the wrong side of a bet every time I promised to, well, eat my shoe, I would be out a full closet of shoes by this time in my life. No, I didn’t offer to cough up millions, but I’m pretty glad no one ever called me on it to belly up to the bar and get down to eating.
But if you were to actually look at the conversation Rodgers had with Todd Sutton, it started along the lines of Sutton asking him, “Do you think Braun did it?”
What was Rodgers supposed to say, that he’d be the first to throw a friend under the bus at the first opportunity to do so? At that time Braun had just beat a 50 game suspension. Sure, he was not guilty based on a technicality. And after following high-profile criminal cases, we all realize that is not synonymous with innocent. But on that day when Aaron was popping off on the internet (and for the record, feel free to step forward if you have never done something stupid like that) was asserting nothing more than he believed that Braun was clean, framed or whatever. What does that mean Rodgers is guilty of?
Standing by a friend.
Not exactly an act that puts you on par Aaron Hernandez. Or the juicer Braun himself who hasn’t exactly apologized to anyone or admitted guilt publicly. His statement rang a bit hollow, something akin to, I’m sorry you made me beat you up.
Sure, I don’t think anyone out there will argue that Rodgers’ February 2012 Tweets aren’t cringe-inducing. They are bold and obnoxious declarations that were authored by the same guy with a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana. You know, that same guy that always feels he has to prove his critics wrong whether they are a college professor that told him he’d amount to nothing because he was a dumb jock or some ESPN personality that is constantly ripping him down.
Let’s face it, Twitter if filled with millions, if not billions, of tweets that we all wish we didn’t post. What, Twitter isn’t filled with emotional irrational stuff? Say it’s not true!
But there’s one thing I am willing to bet on (and, sorry, not offering to eat my shoe this time) and that we have likely seen the last time Aaron Rodgers publicly defends anyone other than his immediate family. I doubt it is lost on him that Braun just made him look like a colossal fool. With everyone’s rush to tar and feather Rodgers (perhaps as a proxy for Ryan Braun himself) did anyone stop and wonder if Aaron is just as angry and betrayed by a friend that likely lied to his face about PEDs? Unlike every fan that is now disgusted with Braun, they didn’t invest a pile of cash in business ventures with a man who now has the equivalent of professional sports herpes. You think Rodgers is thrilled that Braun’s doping scandal has tainted him even tangentially?
But it wasn’t just Rodgers the business partner that was scorched. It’s easy to sever business ties. Shares in a restaurant can be quickly sold. But it takes a long time for the sting to go away after a friend has burned you. Rodgers went out on a limb for Ryan Braun. In my opinion, he was doing what you and I do when our friends are threatened or dragged through the mud.
Who here hasn’t stuck their neck out for a friend? Call it blind faith. Call it stupidity, but we do it all the time. And sometimes we fall on our own swords in the process. It’s what makes us human. What makes friendship worth it. Age, maturity and life experiences help us temper how we demonstrate this act of faith.
Perhaps Aaron Rodgers is guilty of naive and perhaps blind faith. He believed his friend was clean. I have enough faith in friendship, that I won’t question that assertion. I doubt there is some dirty lie Rodgers was helping perpetuate.
But before you start asking for a piece of Rodgers’ sizable paycheck, ask yourself one simple question: what would you do if your felt your friend was threatened?