AL HAMNIK: Internet smear tactics won't deter Packers' Aaron Rodgers

2014-01-04T17:15:00Z 2014-01-12T16:06:25Z AL HAMNIK: Internet smear tactics won't deter Packers' Aaron RodgersAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 04, 2014 5:15 pm  • 

The Internet has a split personality.

It can open up the world without leaving your favorite recliner. It can answer almost every question, settle nearly every debate, and is a research tool we journalists wish was available years ago.

But the Internet also has its dark side overrun by faceless demons who soil reputations, ruin honest lives and create a false panic.

They do it while hiding behind the cowardly cloak of anonymity. And they have taken aim once again.

"Yeah, I'm just going to say I'm not gay," Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on his radio show last Tuesday. "I really, really like women.

"That's all I can say about that."

Radio host Jason Wilde had asked Rodgers about internet rumors concerning his sexuality. The MVP of Super Bowl XLV admitted he's heard those rumors, then offered a brief rebuttal.

Instead of discussing Green Bay's exciting NFC North title win over the Bears last Sunday in Chicago, Rodgers found himself addressing rumors. To his credit, he did not throw down his headset and storm out of the studio.

He's not that guy.

Nor did he get all red in the face, claiming it had been a personal attack on his good name, his family, and the Packers organization.

Rodgers did the right thing. He said his piece, and moved on. And what if he had announced he is gay, what difference does that make?

Homosexuality has become more accepted in sports.

Packers media appeared on Chicago talk radio during the week to discuss what impact, if any, the rumors would have on Rodgers and the team today.

They said it was a non-story, adding most Packers fans couldn't care less.

In Green Bay, football is their religion, winning is their drug.

"There's always going to be silly stuff out there in the media that you can't worry too much about, and I don't," Rodgers said.

"We just keep on trucking. I think professional (news) should be professional and personal (news) should be personal. And that's just how I'm going to keep it."

Good for him.

Camera phones and the internet make it very difficult for today's celebrities, a price they must pay, but you can't really blame them for wanting some privacy.

"There isn't a whole lot of separation from your public and private life," Rodgers said. "Occasionally, people will get upset if you say 'no' to a picture when you're eating dinner or something.

"That's the hard part. Or if you get crazy rumors that swirl around you from time to time that are just silly."

Last Sunday, Rodgers returned to action for the first time since breaking his collarbone on Nov. 4 and confidently led the Packers past the Bears, 33-28, converting three fourth-down situations on the game-winning drive at a stunned Soldier Field.

He's done it countless times for his franchise.

Rodgers takes the field today in Green Bay, with an expected wind chill of minus-45 degrees, focused entirely on the 49ers.

It should be noted former Packers' quarterback Don "Magic Man" Majkowski and the Cowboys' Troy Aikman had their sexuality questioned when they played, simply because of their fair-skinned, boyish looks.

Crazy, isn't it?

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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