By Steve Hayes.
Yesterday, Mike Florio at NBC’s ProFootballTalk.com launched an “attack” – his word – on Aaron Rodgers for a video showing the Packers’ quarterback walking past Jan Cavanaugh, an autograph-seeker who is recovering from cancer. Florio headlined his post, “Aaron Rodgers has a lot to learn about where his money comes from,” called Rodgers “an ass” who is guilty of “treating a cancer patient like a panhandler with leprosy” and took a “crap on a rare moment of happiness” in Cavanaugh’s life. No one has ever accused Florio of being too restrained.
From the video posted at WBAY, we thought that Rodgers probably should have taken the time to stop and sign Cavanaugh’s pink hat. But we also recognized that short video clips rarely – if ever – tell the entire story. And unlike Florio, we believe that context matters. So we sent ProFootballTalk several news stories about Rodgers’ community work, including two stories (here and here) about his work with children suffering from cancer. Florio not only refused to share the information with his readers, he sent a tweet acknowledging that he’d seen such contextual information and that it didn’t matter to him.
So, unlike Florio, who is paid by NBC, we actually did some reporting. Packergeeks reached out to Jan Cavanaugh for a comment. And, as you can see in her response below, she was unaware of the controversy until we notified her.
In her response, Cavanaugh confirms something first reported by Aaron Nagler at Cheesehead.tv. “In all fairness to Aaron, he had signed my jersey the week before.” Cavanaugh says that she wishes professional athletes would take more time to sign autographs, particularly when only a few autograph-seekers are present. But, in what seems to be a shot at Florio, she says she doesn’t “want people making more out of this than there is.”
Her email is below:
Thank you so much for “tracking me down”. I had no idea this hubbub was going on and it is very embarrassing to me. We are big Packer fans and do not want anything to interfere with the Packs game with the Bears next weekend.
We love having Packer parties when they play, have a Packer Christmas tree that we set up every Christmas, Packer clothing, etc., etc.
Aaron did sign a jersey for me the night they came home from playing the Eagles. But my sister-in-law (a Viking fan) had given me a pink Packers cap when I lost my hair and I wanted Aaron to sign it. Didn’t get that accomplished, but in all fairness to Aaron he had signed my jersey the week before.
There were only a few of us at the airport the times we’ve been up there in the last month. It is sometimes hard to understand why the players can’t take a few minutes and sign things when there are so few people asking for autographs. I can understand not wanting to be held up after a game and an airplane ride if there are lots of people that want you to sign something. However, that hasn’t been the case up to now.
Again, I’m embarrassed and I’m sure it’s embarrassing to Aaron who quietly has done so much for the community with so many groups. I know that none of us wanted to make so much out of it. Yes, I’ve had cancer, yes I don’t have hair right now, but I am fine and will be fine and don’t want people making more out of this than there is.
Thanks Steve for letting me know what was happening. I’m not good on the computer and would never have found out if you hadn’t let me know.
Packergeeks wishes Jan a full and speedy recovery. We won’t hold our breath that these facts will change Florio’s opinion.