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Mike Florio Attacks Aaron Rodgers

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Mike Florio Attacks Aaron Rodgers

For some inexplicable reason, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk chose today - the day after Aaron Rodgers had what many consider to be his finest performance as a pro - to take to his site and attack Rodgers over a short clip that appeared in a WBAY report (that has subsequently been pulled from the station's website - more on that later).

After reading Mike's post, I couldn't help but think about the fact that only a few days earlier he had penned another seemingly out-of-the-blue post about his newfound love for Jay Cutler.

Rodgers is represented by David Dunn, an agent Florio has been critical of in the past. Jay Cutler is represented by Bus Cook, who Florio often lampoons for his country-bumpkin ways but whom he rarely truly criticizes.

Long time readers of the site know where I'm going with this.

Florio started PFT much like we did here at CHTV. He was hungry and made PFT into a second job. He worked his ass off to make his site into what it is today.

But part of "building" his site came in the form of money he took from agents who saw what Mike was doing and saw how it could be beneficial to them to have him writing good things about their clients.

Fast forward to present day - NBC has paid Mike a lot of money to have PFT under their NBC Sports banner. The man is on television every week during Football Night In America. He has a real pulpit to preach from and today he chose to preach about Aaron Rodgers walking by a woman with cancer who wanted his autograph, an event he only knew about because of a 3 second clip he saw online with about as little true context as possible.

The whole thing smelled like a hit job and I wanted Mike to know I wasn't buying his holier-than-thou act. The following is our back and forth as it played out on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

AN: What would be interesting would be the history of @ProFootballTalk when it comes to posting about Bus Cook and David Dunn clients...

MF: . . . Grow up, Aaron.

AN: Brilliant. I'm not the one who just tried to assassinate an NFL players character off of 10 seconds of video.

MF: Yes, it was a hatchet job on behalf of Brett Favre and Bus Cook. You have cracked the case. Bravo.

AN: Um, the Cook reference was to the bouquet you threw Cutlers way a few days ago. Seems I've hit a nerve Mike...

MF: . . . Yes, you definitely hit a nerve. My stupidity intolerance nerve.

AN: Well that's good. It will offset my hack-with-an agenda nerve.

Needless to say, I can't wait to see Mike at our next NFL function.

Shortly after this very public back and forth I heard quite reliably that Aaron Rodgers spoke to and signed an autograph for Jan Cavanaugh just last week before the Packers' Wild Card game victory over Philadelphia. It turns out Ms. Cavanaugh is a regular at the airport when the Packers travel and can often be found trying to get players to sign things for her.

Now, obviously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. God bless her. She's a true Packer fan.

But this points out the biggest issue of both the report from WBAY and Florio's reliance on it to draw his pompous conclusions from it. There's little to no context to the image and the participants. There's nothing to let the viewer know that just last week - without any cameras around - Rodgers spent time speaking with Cavanaugh and gave her an autograph.

Of course, the image is damning in a way regardless of context. Rodgers - and those charged with caring for his public image - simply has to be smarter than that. There's obviously a camera crew there, there's a woman they know is a cancer victim - and he just breezes right past her. Watching the clip, you can see someone with Rodgers, presumably a member of the Packers' PR staff, (UPDATED - the man walking with Aaron Rodgers through the airport is in fact an off-duty policeman, not a member of the Packers PR staff. I did not find this out from the Packers, who have not contacted me in any way regarding this post.) giving Cavanaugh a type of "not today" signal with his hand.

I get it. Really, I do. Professional athletes are under siege from autograph seekers every minute of every day - but as the face of the franchise in the smallest market in the NFL - Rodgers simply HAS to stop. He has to. Camera crew? Cancer victim all in pink? Not to mention the fact that Rodgers has aligned himself with the MACC Fund and LiveStrong - it is a public relations blunder of epic proportions.

The image suggests that those alignments are more about Rodgers cultivating his image rather than about his convictions - and images can reverberate with people who have personal connections to the image in question.

Of course, that image is only available because of WBAY. The full report is no longer available online, which is a good thing for the station because the entire spot was an incoherent mess. There's no mention of the fact that Cavanagh frequents the airport and, of course, no mention of the fact that Rodgers had indeed already spoken to her and given her an autograph.

If there had been, perhaps Florio wouldn't have been compelled to write:

...football players need to be willing to pause and sign an autograph or two from time to time.  Especially when the person seeking the autograph is female, is wearing copious amounts of NFL-licensed pink apparel, and has very short gray hair.

There’s a pretty good chance that any person fitting that description is a cancer patient.  And if the NFL is going to allow the official uniform to be infiltrated by pink patches and gloves and cleats and stripes every October, high-profile NFL players need to be willing to stop and sign an autograph for someone who fits the profile of a person who is in the fight of her life.

Well Mike, the "high-profile NFL player" in question DID stop and sign an autograph - last week. If you had bothered to look into it rather than jumping on your high horse you might have found that out.

In the end - everyone screwed up here.

Florio screwed up jumping all over Rodgers for not doing something he had already done.

WBAY screwed up for producing what can charitably be described as a confused mess of a story - then compounded the error by taking it down. I know it's local television but does that preclude all semblance of professionalism? Do you stand by the report or not? If not, make a statement telling us why not, don't just silently pull the video - which, as Corey so rightly pointed out, is an incredibly old-world way of thinking.

The Packers PR staff screwed up by letting Rodgers even be in this position and for not reacting better when the situation so blatantly needed to be handled a certain way.

And, yes, Rodgers screwed up by walking past Jan Cavanagh.

All that said, I don't know why Rodgers chose to walk past her and neither does Florio. But Mike took to his blog, read by millions of people a day, and proceeded to pass judgement on Rodgers without so much as a call to Rodgers or the Packers. This, after just a week ago praising Jay Cutler for eschewing the charity-work-limelight.

Florio writes:

More than ever we realize the importance of content to a media operation.  But we wish more NFL athletes would choose not to wear their charitable acts like logos sewn onto their jerseys.

Oh, you mean like secretly treating a hundred kids from the Boys and Girls Club to a day of bowling with Packer players followed by shopping for Christmas presents, all of it on his dime and all without ever once alerting the media?

Florio's background as a lawyer has served him well in the past when pursuing the Mike Vick story and when reporting on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. His other background (hack-with-an-agenda) has unfortunately reared its ugly head.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (142) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Richll's picture

(slow clap)

Rahim's picture

(slow claps a bit faster)

Chad Toporski's picture

(Joins in on the clapping.)

davyjones's picture

Stands while clapping...hoping others will stand with him.

Matt's picture

I'm clapping my butt off and put this story all over the ESPN boards. I knew there was more to this than we were shown. I've had friends that have actually got a chance to be around Rodgers and they couldn't believe how great of a guy he was so I knew something was fishy.

Kay's picture

WELL SAID!

ShopeIV's picture

great take nagler

Brewfangrb (Corey Heim)'s picture

Linked to my Facebook account in full retraction of my earlier blasting of Rodgers. Thanks for doing the legwork, Aaron.

corey jenkins's picture

edit. over reaction. great post aaron, well done.

Mare's picture

You know, I grew up in Green Bay and subsequently moved away and worked with and around celebs for almost 9 years. When the same people show up repeatedly where they know celebs are going to be, the celebs and their handlers know them as well. Who is to say a certain person has or hasn't asked for and received autographs/pictures/handshakes multiple times? And in an airport as small as Austin Straubel there is no doubt not only Rodgers, but the whole team, coaches, handlers, and equipment boys know certain people will be waiting for them. Again.

So yes, it's completely irresponsible to make a judgement that if a player walks past someone and doesn't give them an autograph the player is a bad person. It's also irresponsible to blame the player's handlers who may have said no today, but yes the day before. Cancer victim/survivor, small kids, and puppies will get press every time but that's always just part of the story.

mission's picture

pwned.

missannielynn's picture

This is some of your finest writing, Aaron. Thank you for giving this subject so much thoughtful consideration and research before posting. You've given Packer fans a solid voice and defended our qb against this ridiculous piece of "journalism."
Bravo!

Tim Backes's picture

Really well said, Aaron. I've been following you on Twitter for a few weeks now after seeing your occasional humorous back-and-forths with Bedard, but this is the first time I've visited CHTV and I'm really impressed. Unlike Florio, you took your time, did some research before slaughtering anybody via internet, and wrote an excellent analysis of the entire situation.

I'll be coming back more often!

eggshellsaldente's picture

great work. it's suprising how quick this story has spread across the nation. specific details about this woman's repeat visit to the GB airport and repeat request for autographs are left out. it's to bad, too. aaron is one game away from potentially taking GB to the super bowl and MF reports malicious lies about him. blatant character assassination and i don't think aaron should have to speak on or justify his actions. MF, truly you're a douche to the nth degree. glad to see someone brings truth to this story.

Matt's picture

This post makes my week.

It is high time that someone took that clown to task.

Kevin's picture

They will do anything to try to throw Rodgers off his game before a big game. Thanks for clearing it up for ppl who may not know!

Flikery's picture

I look forward to Mr. Flores signing my random sheet of paper 100 times in a row as I film it until I get a shot of him being sick of it and walking away. And maybe I can get hired at a local news station while I am at it?

Giggity's picture

This is disgusting, on Florio's part.

One stupid 1 minute clip is taken out of context and over analyzed with no real backing. He doesn't give a damn about the cancer patient. All he cares about is trying to find a way to make Rodgers look like an ass. That is all, and it is disgusting. And it is just great how he chose to do this AFTER Rodgers great game.

I am really hoping, REALLY hoping this does not make it on ESPN. And since ESPN is and always will be in love with Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers, I don't expect them to even bring it up.

You know what's worst than brushing off a fan with cancer? Writing an article just for the sake of TRYING to tarnish someone's image at the expense of a cancer victim. I don't know Jan's feelings on Rodgers, but I know she wants her team to win. And the last thing she wants is to be in the middle of this ridiculous story and be a distraction for the team. I think she has enough on her plate.

And fans get brushed off everyday. Rodgers can't sign autographs all of the time. It's an old excuse, but it is true.

WoodyG's picture

Florio can only be described as your 'classic media whore' ...... Tabloid journalism at its best ..... Unfortunately, NBC has legitimized him by attaching their stamp to his slimy form of innuendo & conjecture ..... (I can't believe Al Michaels appreciates the Florio/NBC connection) ......

Give him hell, Nagler ..... The guy's a slime-ball with an obvious personal agenda that benefits no one but himself .....

WoodyG's picture

WBAY seems to have also disengaged any way of contacting the station ..... Their on-line contact form is 'temp inoperable' & my e-mail attempts have been auto returned ..... Looks like WBAY is running scared ....

stinkdaddy's picture

It's all pretty darn explicable really. Rodgers gave a performance last night that was beyond reproach, and the media narrative has shifted suddenly from "this guy can't win a big game" to "look at his arm...look how he throws on the move...look at his escapability!" These are things we've known for awhile, but it's only just now gotten what you might call "national approval" what with the pinheaded football analysts finally realizing that hey, this guy is really good.

This is an environment that's ripe for contrarianism. The first person who can point to a reason to doubt Rodgers will be hailed a) currently as bold enough to defy conventional wisdom and b) in the future should Rodgers ever slip. Florio wants hits, Floriowants recognition, Florio wants to be correct on a bold prediction. (Just read his stuff: being the gossipmonger eats at the guy, and he's always trying to play analyst to compensate.) Problem is, he can't really predict much because he barely understands how the game works on the field and is thus relegated to gossip duty(Peter King Syndrome). Plus we have to keep in mind the guy's a Viking fan, and doesn't do such a good job of compartmentalizing his personal and professional football lives.

Add this all up and it's pretty clear that Florio, when all is said and done, really just wants some attention. Wants to be important. We've already given it to him, and nod oubt this thing's going to have blown up even bigger by the time we wake up in the morning. A lot of what is written will hopefully be about what a hack Florio is for writing all this without checking the story out with *one single person* who was there but remember when you were growing up and you knew that guy/gal for whom any attention, negative or positive, was good? Or maybe you have a 4-year old or so who's experiencing the same issue? Well, that's Florio. He couldn't find the news story he wanted, so he created it.

Bomdad's picture

It's just an autograph. He didn't sleep around on her.

Bob's picture

Frankly, I am shocked that anyone would still be, in ANY way, critical of Rodgers for this. If an NFL quarterback, even of the lowest stature, is asked to sign an autograph or stop every single time a camera crew comes near, they would not be able to leave the airport, much less leave an airport and make it onto the field.

I would bet you, if you'd bother to investigate this further, Rodgers's "handlers" saw a camera crew, not a camera patient. Callous? No, it's TYPICAL, if you've been around the spotlight. So while you get more credit for journalistic integrity than the jerk who spawned the attacks, you still don't get a "A" for your work. Aaron Rodgers has NOTHING to apologize for, except to appease some people who can't separate their emotion from how the world actually operates.

dgtalmn's picture

Removed ProFootballTalk from my IE Favorites list. I guess PFT wants to be National Enquirer of web sites.

Bearmeat's picture

Yup. Me too. No more PFT. I've seen his gossip mongering before, but that was against players like Farkle and coaches like Chilly - who deserved it. I'm not saying AR is not above reproach - he's not - and because he's a human being he is not above messing up. BUT this was hack journalism at its worst.

Anita's picture

Is Bus Cook the go-to agents for NFL douchebags? Good GOD. He must own stock in Pepsid, having to handle Cutler and Favre.

Great post, Aaron. Too bad WBAY and Florio weren't not as thorough as you were, before posting their hot messes. Thing is, it didn't look like it took you very long to get to the bottom of it! Too bad they weren't patient enough to get the facts, first, as well.

Jeff's picture

WBAY should be embarrassed and the reporter that decided to break this story should be fired. Did they forget that these players get hammered on a daily basis for a autograph? You can't sign everything. They forget what Arron has done in our community.

throwingcandy's picture

Well said. The twitter back-and-forth was fun yesterday. Only beef I have with this is that I wouldn't say this is a "PR blunder of epic proportions." That's a little strong.

chipackerbacker's picture

According to Wikipedia, Florio is a lifelong Minnesota Vikings supporter who obviously can't put his allegiances away for the sake of his professionalism.

Josh's picture

Pftalk.com is the TMZ of sites. When they started they would at least attribute stories. Now, not so much. They did used to break stories, but they stopped.

PackerT's picture

Mike Florio and PFT equals......."Trash Journalism!"

ILpackfan's picture

National Football Post is better than PFT anyday. Andrew Brandt does a great job and I like the other reporters too. Screw PFT and swithch over to National Football Post

DirectingTitan's picture

Nagler knocks it out of the park, gets his own rebound, then runs it in for a touchdown.

Well-written. Character assassinations cannot be condoned.

Bill's picture

PFT doesn't seem to be accepting new comments on the story. Have tried posting this twice now as "The other side of the story" and it's not going... seems Mike Florio doesn't want to acknowledge he jumped the gun a bit...

MT's picture

Well said. I'm sharing this in an AR forum.

PackersThad's picture

I truly hope that your source that said that A-Rod gave her an autograph the week before is correct because you're put all your chips on the table with this.

Regardless of that, Rodgers was under no obligation to stop (especially if he has signed something for her before) but as you correctly pointed out (and as Corey stated on Twitter) it is a PR blunder not to stop.

I really hope that Aaron let's his image handlers handle this and he doesn't go out of his way to make up for it. He needs to be focused on the upcoming game, all the Packers do!

GO! PACK! GO!

Ceallaigh's picture

Growing up in Green Bay, I know that a market of that size is an absolute fishbowl it can be. There will be parties quick to blame Rodgers (and Florio is leading that charge) that will ultimately distill something as hyperbolic as "Rodgers hates cancer patients" (which is the ultimate goal of the Florio hit if you ask me.)

And there will be a party to blame Mrs. Cavanaugh for the issue. Not to attack her, but I am quite certain that there are others waiting at the airport, training camp, etc who are huge Packer fans, are struggling with a chronic illness but don't have the media grabbing attention of a universal color for chronic disease.

WBAY is the one sole to blame for this fiasco. They had obviously clued in Mrs. Cavanaugh that they wanted a little human interest story of "Big Time QB Stops for Cancer Patient." But they forgot to clue Rodgers and his security detail in on the plan.

He is walking through the airport in the vid with a security detail. All it takes is one stalker to make that small journey through that very minimally-secured airport a nightmare. The Packers leave at the exact same time on departures for away games. The fans know it, and the potentially deranged and dangerous know it as well. Too bad there is no international color for stalker. Didn't a very public figure just get shot in the head for reaching out in public?

And shame on Florio. Just because Aaron Rodgers doesn't issue a press release every time he does a good deed doesn't mean they don't occur. Next do your muckraking elsewhere.

Ceallaigh's picture

Growing up in Green Bay, I know that a market of that size is an absolute fishbowl it can be. There will be parties quick to blame Rodgers (and Florio is leading that charge) that will ultimately distill something as hyperbolic as "Rodgers hates cancer patients" (which is the ultimate goal of the Florio hit if you ask me.)

And there will be a party to blame Mrs. Cavanaugh for the issue. Not to attack her, but I am quite certain that there are others waiting at the airport, training camp, etc who are huge Packer fans, are struggling with a chronic illness but don't have the media grabbing attention of a universal color for chronic disease.

WBAY is the one sole to blame for this fiasco. They had obviously clued in Mrs. Cavanaugh that they wanted a little human interest story of "Big Time QB Stops for Cancer Patient." But they forgot to clue Rodgers and his security detail in on the plan.

He is walking through the airport in the vid with a security detail. All it takes is one stalker to make that small journey through that very minimally-secured airport a nightmare. The Packers leave at the exact same time on departures for away games. The fans know it, and the potentially deranged and dangerous know it as well. Too bad there is no international color for stalker. And it's those invisible few that security has to watch for among a crowd of hundreds. Didn't a very public figure just get shot in the head for reaching out in public?

Robert Greenfield's picture

Great insights, here A.N. Man, Florio seems like a dick, but agreed, that just a major cluster all around.

DBH's picture

PFT = Fail.

Aaron, keep the pressure Mr. Florio for this p.o.s. article he made up to screw a non-supporting agent's client. You've uncovered a fairly seriuos trend in Florio's writing/defending/attacking, and to see the 200+ comments at the bottom of his article where readers are passing judgement on Rodgers based on his article shows that he is succeeding to some extent. I hope his credibility is hurt in a big way b/c of this article!

Eric's picture

Nags, Thanks for doing the due diligence and reporting this contradiction. Florio's story was so infuriating given he does little research on some stories to fill up PFT space. It was an obvious attempt to fill content piggy-backing off an older article and target the highest profiled qb of the weekend to increase traffic. Thanks for not stooping to the level of PFT and reporting the whole story.

davyjones's picture

Aaron, are you going to keep that rag on your Daily Links list??

DD's picture

Actually, the news report did say she was a regular to the airport. . .

I don't care either way. If the guy is a jerk he is a jerk. . . If he's not, he's not.

Keep in mind, no matter how much you defend Mr. Rodgers his $$$$$$$$$ comes from the fans that support him.

He could have at least acknowledged her and said maybe another time. . .

He looked arrogant with a drop of high and mighty. . . I didn't need any article, writing, or reporting to see that.

sammer's picture

Easy solution, everybody... stop reading PFT. Problem solved.

jerseypackfan's picture

I stoppped reading that hack site more then a year ago and also NBC is the official New England Patriots channel. Poor Peter King, What will the hunchback talk about now seeing his beloved Tom Brady is out of the playoffs?

Josh's picture

Its sad that most people who read this article will not look at the other side i.e. bears, vikings fans...It kills me inside to see something like this especially when its written to personally attack someone without telling the whole story

Ruppert's picture

The key is your first sentence regarding the timing. Rodgers has been unfairly criticized by some people every single day since he was drafted. Every time he accomplishes something on the field, there is some wise guy spouting off with a new reason why he's overrated. Now, finally, after back to back road playoff wins, including one of the best playoff QB performances ever, somebody else jumps up with a hack job THE VERY NEXT DAY.

That PFT story is something you'd expect to see on TMZ, not on what is supposed to be a mainstream sports reporting site, aligned with a major TV network.

It would be totally unbelievable if we hadn't been seeing this exact same treatment for the last 5 years in some form or another.

PS, I'm with Thad...I hope that source of yours is right.

Abe's picture

It's well known, from a NYTimes article in 2001, that Florio is a Vikings fan. So no matter how neutral he pretends to be he still has those pathetic purple tendencies.

bleedsgreen's picture

Thanks for the insight.

That said, the sooner you get a hard source for your information, the better. "Someone told me that..." is a weak reed to lean on when going toe to toe with the likes of this asshole, who "buys his ink" by the terrapixel, so to speak.

Keep up the push back. #12 needs this to end, now.

jtm371's picture

BRAVO thanks for the rebuttal to that jackwagon.like Mom said there is always two sides to the story.good luck with the bears!

rmlumley's picture

This PFT story really, really upset me for a number of reasons.

1.) The story shouldn't be about how Aaron Rodgers didn't stop for an autograph. If there is any story here, it's how Clay Matthews did stop and sign a jersey.

2.) It's incredulous to blame a player for not stopping to sign autographs in a public place. There is a time for practice, there is a time for philanthropy and there is a time for interacting with friends. There is also a time for travel and going about your business.

3.) He didn't do anything wrong. He didn't do anything inappropriate. He simply walked by someone holding out a hat.

4.) Would it have been better if Rodgers had stopped and signed the hat? What would be the "right" thing to do after that? Sign everything else people have or would it have been just as rude (or maybe worse) if he would have stopped after one signature and moved on?

5.) It's a grown woman asking for a signature on a hat. There isn't anything wrong with that, but it's not something that begs a different reaction from anyone else.

6.) This isn't like Rodgers walked by some terminally ill cancer patient like they don't exist. This is a woman who traveled to an airport to receive signatures. Good for her, but terminally ill cancer patients are in the hospital or at home with hospice.

It sounds like I'm being negative towards Jan Cavanaugh, and that's not my intention. She's obviously a packer fan and can spend her free time doing whatever she wishes. It's not fair to simply paint her as "cancer patient" and create an outrageous storyline regarding a franchise quarterback (or anyone else for that matter). Sadly, that's what PFT did. And I agree, in the end it's going to hurt everyone (Florio, Rodgers and sadly, maybe even Cavanaugh).

bleedsgreen's picture

+1 Yes, yes, yes.

JohnRehor's picture

Perfectly stated Aaron.

Thank you.

JoePackersNYC's picture

Thank you for putting this into context, Aaron. In this day and age, an agenda is practically everywhere you turn in the media; tv, radio, online, and blogs.
It would be refreshing if folks just actually came clean in the beginning of an article and let the viewer/reader/listener know where they stand up front.

Anita's picture

Unfortunately, there will be those (primarily Bear, Viking, and Favre fans) who will ignore facts and cling to Florio's original article, no matter how much proof to the contrary comes out, no matter if Florio (and subsequently Deadspin) apologizes and prints the actual facts. And don't you KNOW that Bear fans/bloggers will try to make this a full blow distraction this week? Of course they will.

mcs's picture

Well said Aaron.

It would behoove us all to remember that Green Bay is still, in many ways, a small mill town in the northern reaches of the country.

Not to excuse WBAY, but their errors do not surprise me.

-Mike
@mcsseiltz

mcs's picture

Dam typo in my own ID. Hah!

Sheesh

-Mike
@mcseiltz

Abe's picture

The other thing that bugs me about this is there's no recognition by Florio that he has a lot bigger pulpit now and is writing for and appearing on a major network. You'd think he'd recognize that he simply can't put out character assasination posts without reaching out to the parties involved for comment.

Tarynfor 12's picture

The fact that Rodgers had already spent time with her previously and gave her an autograph,and the fact that she although cancer stricken,is an obsessed fan,the Cancer Program which she is part of as a victim and apparent awareness symbol of such,should be first in line in the defense of Rodgers with their touting of his prior and more likely continued participation in such.

These Medical Programs which are by far the most humane and employ the most sincere in their search for answers and cures, must also protect those who become known and enhance the Programs funding ability.

All the good that Rodgers has or hasn't done(?)I don't know,but whatever it was,it only took one of their own to tarnish it.

Regretfully,tabloid press can,does and will continue to spin any incident good or bad into a story for those so useless in their lives, they live only to see the destruction of those who contribute to others lives.

davyjones's picture

I gotta ask again...Why is it still on the daily links page here at CHTV???

jdondlinger's picture

Well put Aaron. Great piece. Florio is a hack and has been for sometime. This was the last straw with me for his TMZ like football website. Officially removed from my Firefox bookmarks. Better info and insight over at National Football Post anyway.

Fedya's picture

Don't insult TMZ. You may not like they way they go about things, but they actually take pains to make certain they get things right. (Founder Harvey Levin is a lawyer like Florio.)

Real66's picture

+1

packersurle's picture

I agree - I will never go to that site again.

cole's picture

Rodgers should take the Cutler approach to dealing with the media and tell them to go fuck themselves. The media are just a bunch of scummy critics who ride whatever is hot at the moment and try and make up shit so people will click on there mindless articles. Florio is the worst of them all, right there with Cowherd.

packers_freak's picture

Great post Aaron. I agree that Rodgers looked like a dick in the video, but blasting him like Florio did was uncalled for.

Joy's picture

Aaron, I am new to your site, I just found you coincidently on Twitter yesterday when many retweeted your Charles Woodson quote from the halftime interview yesterday. I just wanted to say I agree with you on that it was complete tabloid journalism on the part of Mike Florio for writing that article based on the video presented. I'm glad someone is calling him out on it. I don't agree with your stance though, that the Packers or Aaron Rodgers did anything wrong. I live 5 minutes from Austin Straubel airport, there are fans and camera crews at the airport everytime the team travels. I am sure this woman was not the only cancer survivor there and I'm sure she was not the only one decked out in all pink - the pink jerseys are very popular in Green Bay for all women, not just the ones who have survived cancer. If the policy at that time was no autographs, the have to stand by it - no matter who is asking - otherwise - where does it end?

Chris's picture

the only thing i have to say about that is clay matthews stopped to sign so its not that they were not supposed to. he probably had other things on his mind. when im thinking about things i don't pay attention to people around me.

jen's picture

I agree 100%. He should have been smarter with the cameras rolling. He made a mistake. It would be stupid to judge him on one video. But Florio's article was the highest of Holier Than Thou attitude. He didn't even look into #12 past givings to charities.

Penny Lehman's picture

I agree that all those in the spotlight have some responsibility to the public, BUT they also deserve their privacy. I've heard many a good thing that Aaron and other Packers have done, still do, for the community of Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin. What has the reporter done for anyone other than himself lately?

Pauline's picture

We all know that Aaron Rodgers has a heart of gold. He has proven that over and over again.. That this reporter felt he had to diss him just amazes me.. You would think the reporters would have better things to do.. We can not expect him to sign an autograph every time she shows up now can we? It used to be that you would have to attend a practice or be right on the Green Bay facilities.. Now it is expected all the time.. Pleeeeasssseee....

bryce's picture

good to know...i officially dislike florio now

cyarie's picture

The fact that PFT represents sports journalism is unfortunate for sports journalism and the guys and gals who fall into the category of being actual journalists.

GBFanInBoulder's picture

Thanks Aaron, great piece here. This is the best part about blogs: you can editorialize far more freely than any newspaper can and as GB fan I appreciate you practicing that freedom. And I realize you're probably sticking up for the facts as much as for A-Rod, if not more so, but the dude deserves some e-TLC for what he does for the community. Go Rodgers, go Pack!

Paul Dier's picture

When he further denied last night that he didnt see anything to change his story, I just started unfollowing him on Twitter. His website is the National Inquirer of the NFL. I urge alot of my fellow packer fans to do the same thing.

bryce's picture

agree...i say full on boycott until he recants...who's with me?

Ryan's picture

http://www.packers.com/media-center/photo-gallery/Fans-Greet-Team-At-Air...
Here's a link to fans greeting the Packers as they returned from Atlanta. In two photos, Jan Cavanaugh can be seen waiting with her pink Matthews jersey on.

PackerBelle's picture

Just want to thank you for looking into this. I agree that it is a PR issue. It looks bad, and if you aren't a Packer fan who hears about the quiet things Rodgers does for fans and the community this could make Rodgers look like a jerk.

I understand people wanting autographs of their favorite players. And when you are going through treatment for cancer, having something fun and exciting to do, such as getting a glimpse of your favorite team and maybe getting some autographs, is a big deal. And kudos to CM3 for stopping to make her day.

But I also think that when you are showing up somewhere that is not an official 'fan' event, such as at an airport, you can't get upset if players want to focus on their jobs rather than on giving you an autograph. Even if you are going through a rough time as Mrs. Cavanaugh most certainly is. Especially if Rodgers had talked to her and signed stuff for her previously.

And I think there is something to be said for giving players space. Yes, their jobs put them in the public eye and I think that it is good for them to be appreciative of the fans and the community, including doing charitable work and signing autographs. But they should also be able to get on a plane for a big game without feeling obligated to sign autographs and make small talk with strangers without being criticized. As a fan, I'd much prefer that they do what they need to do to play their best rather than worry about signing every single think someone wants autographed.

David's picture

Exactly, plus almost any current player (some past players, though a few need/want the money themselves) will sign whatever if you want for a donation to their charity. For example Bart Starr will sign whatever for $35 (I think). I'm sure Rodgers will too if you donate to MACC (a cancer charity for kids). Free autographs is a kids thing anyways.

Paul DelVechio's picture

I know it's been said that the video took place Friday when the team was leaving for Atlanta. But in the part of the piece with Clay talking with/signing for the woman he says something along the lines of "The stewardess told us about you." This would suggest to me that it took place Sat upon the team's return to GB from Atl. Why would Clay be talking to the stewardess before boarding a flight?

D.D. Driver's picture

Uh-oh. Florio's next piece of manufactured outrage will be a hit piece on Matthews for calling the stewardesses instead of flight attendants.

SpartaChris's picture

Simple: team bus on the way over.

And he doesn't say "Told *us* about you." He says, "*I* talked to the stewardess about you." Big difference between a public announcement and a private conversation.

sportsdawg's picture

Well put, Aaron. There needed to be a sane voice out there to put some perspective on things. Good job!

And yeah, the Packers PR folk should learn their lesson here and try to never put any of our players in such a position in the future.

Leesie's picture

What if Rodgers had been having dinner at a restaurant? Would it be ok for a fan to come up to ask for an autograph? How would you react if someone wanted something from you while you were walking through an airport having a conversation with an colleague? What if a tape of YOU walking past a Salvation Army kettle without putting any money in surfaced on your local TV station? This is so stupid. I volunteer, give to worthy charities and do what I can to help those in need, but I also value my privacy and don't want to be forced into doing something at an inopportune time. Heard about this on my local radio station and just had to get the straight story. Thanks Cheesehead

Dibz69's picture

Aaron, please give Florio a good old-fashioned ass-whuppig at the next NFL event and we'll all buy you rounds for a year.

Steve's picture

At some point even people like Florio who pose as journalists must be held to some kind of journalistic standard. If the Florios of the world prosper at cost of truth and honor then the whole of journalism will suffer credibility....starting with online sports journalism. Hold the sleezy one accountable by ignoring them every single day.

Can you do me a favre's picture

Florio's punishment should be to put on a bedazzled pink #12 Jersey and let Rodger's shave his head to make him appear like a cancer patient, then tatoo his autograph on Florio's forehead for him to carry for the rest of his life. This would then be aired at half time during a piece on ethics in journalism.

Can you do me a favre's picture

Half time of the superbowl of course

TLB's picture

I would encourage everyone to go look at the screen grabs in the post at this Cal Fan site:

http://www.californiagoldenblogs.com/2011/1/17/1939582/mike-florio-commi...

It's clear that Rodgers was steered away and the meeting with Matthews was set up ahead of time.

David's picture

Maybe Rogers is like Stephen Colbert and smart enough to realize “komen for the cure” is a load of crap. Their CEO and board of directors have 1/2 million dollar plus salaries. They have also used donor money to sue any charity using the phrase “for the cure” (even if they are for something other than breast cancer). Komen for the Cure is a business, masquerading a charity. I’d probably snub any events thrown by them just on principle. There are better charities out there, as Aaron rodgers has shown in his support (he’s signed helmets for children with cancer)>

To say Aaron Rodgers doesn’t care though is completely false. He’s done multiple “make a wish” events where young packer fans have taken the practice field with him and actually thrown/caught a few balls, which takes a hell of a lot more time than signing a simple autograph. He also does a lot of stuff for other kids.

I’ve never asked for an athlete to sign anything “just for free.” I’ve always reserved that privilege for children. Rather, as an adult, I’m fine with donating to the athlete’s cause to get their signature. In fact I’d be a bit embarrassed to do it any other way, and would never use my health issues as leverage.

Usually the prices for such are pretty reasonable I believe Bart Starr requests just wants $35 + postage to go to rawhide to sign anything (we donated quite a bit more to have him sign our packers helmet, just on principle). I’m sure Rodgers will sign whatever as well if you gave money to the MACC (a children’s cancer charity).

Mary Jo's picture

Can we all blame Jan if the Packers lose to the Bears? This woman sounds like a total pain in the ass. Please stop playing the cancer-pity card, Jan.

Janice's picture

I'm a 1st time visitor to your site.
Thanks for writing this. Anyone with half a brain realizes Rogers is the real deal.

I AM A Cancer Survivor, & Aaron Rogers..
I DO NOT not expect you to sign an autograph for me... I'd prefer you just concentrate on going to Chicago and shutting up those Bears fans.

Real fans need to let him do his job - he has enough to contend with right now.

KCousineau09's picture

Is this the Jan featured in the video?

Jan's picture

Absolutely Not! That woman is giving the name "Jan" a bad name!

I've been watching the Pack for almost 50 years and bleed green and gold!

Go Pack!

j4a1's picture

Florio is just another Internet sports "journalist". What he does isn't journalism at all. It's what I call "Sports Typing". It's only purpose to get hits and make money. Journalists are interested in the truth. "Typists" aren't. They are interested in stoking controversy and making money.

Shame on Florio for taking the lowest of low roads to sully the name of a truly good guy.

I, for one, won't give him the benefit of my "clicks" anymore.

Joy's picture

The story is back on WBAY now, so I just got to see the whole thing (before I just saw the two youtube clips of Aaron and Clay) and I see other players were signing autographs, so my previous statement about no autographs being allowed was wrong. I still stand by my statement that neither Aaron or the Packers made a bad choice not signing her hat. If he's signed for her before, there was no reason for him to that day.

Joe Johnson's picture

Surprising take on a Packers blog. You wonder why Florio has hit it big and you haven't. Typical "Packer Backer"

CSS's picture

It's surprising to hear facts? Yes, shocking to actually have integrity in reporting on a Packers blog.

Don't you have traffic to go play in?

Real66's picture

Go back to your Vikings website.

lebowski's picture

CheeseheadTV HAS hit it big, jerkoff.

Kay's picture

You lose, Joe

Joe Johnson's picture

Too easy to fire you all up.

Lumpy Gravy's picture

Typical non-constructive troll.

Giggity's picture

Jan ended up speaking about the incident:
http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=13857012

Rodgers has signed things for her in the past, and she is shocked by what is being said about it.

I don't have an account on PFT, but I think that news story needs to be posted on their comments.

Josh's picture

Since people are attacking this site I'll explain. If you want analysis of games, schemes, and information on the roster come here. If you like TMZ, use profootballtalk.com.

thepretzelhead on twitter's picture

For the record if I dressed myself in head to toe pink I'd be frightened of anyone who stopped.

Ceallaigh's picture

I can't make big enough airquotes when I try to consider Mike Florio a "journalist." Seriously, when there are new posts all day on that thread yet the posting count continues to go down instead of up, you have a definite surpression of information going on. Florio is a coward that refused to answer questions I attempted--yet conveniently never saw the light of day--ask him.

Such as simple things like, did he inquire if Rodgers has had recent threats to his safety which would make interacting with complete strangers a dangerous prospect? That would definitely stop all autographs in an non-secure location.

Or did Florio ask WBAY if the clued Rodgers into the attempt at a "QB stops for Cancer Patient" story like they obviously had done with Mrs. Cavanaugh, or if they sandbagged him like it appeared on film?

yet this Muckraker has made sure every negative, childish post has been displayed for this immature attempt at a character assassination.

To call him a journalist is laughable at best.

BrianD's picture

Please never write about another blog again. I'd prefer you use your talents to analyze the games on the field, rather than what the media is talking about. You're really sharp when it comes to breaking down play. I was blown away by the simplicity and effectiveness of your 'Aaron Rodgers playing his best football' article this week. I'd like to learn more about the game itself, and why the Packers succeed year after year rather than reading about a blogger I've never paid any attention to. Thanks AN

FITZCORE1252's picture

At 1st blush seeing the video my only thought was "that's weak" #12. Now with a little info I think I can answer this question: "All that said, I don't know why Rodgers chose to walk past her and neither does Florio"...

Perhaps because it was the middle of the night, the guys adrenaline tank was on empty he probably just wanted his bed, and MOST IMPORTANTLY he knew he'd already gave his time to this woman before.

If Mrs. Cavanaugh had any respect for the Green and Gold she would find the energy to let everyone know #12 had made time for her in the past. She's got the energy to go to the airport at 3:00 am. Right?

I wish Jan the best in her fight, really do. She could however make all this go away by telling the back-story. EXCLUSIVE CHTV INTERVIEW?

GBP 4 LIFE

Ceallaigh's picture

You might want to check the WBAY website again, because Mrs. Cavanaugh did just that. She doesn't understand Mr. Florio's outrage and, apparently doesn't need his faux righteous indignation.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Sweet. Good lookin out Jan.

GBP 4 LIFE

corey jenkins's picture

Remember when Florio blatantly plagarized Michael Lombardi a couple years ago, like as if no one would notice and then everyone did and then he totally denied it when NFP called him out? Yeah, that was funny.

Real66's picture

Any chance, Aaron, that you will have a chance to write a piece on the NY Times site in the next week or so?

Tom's picture

Isn't want Florio did considered slander? Can't he or NBC Sports be sued for that?

beth drake's picture

this was a non-story and if Florio had done his homework he'd have found out Aaron has signed several items for this lady. No player signs over and over again for the same person who shows up at the airport everytime the team comes and goes. the lady was fine with it, she has other autographs of Aarons, so let it go already. Again, it's a non-story and shame to rip on a player contributes repeatedly to the community. Aaron is a fan favorite because he DOES take time for the fans, and has with this lady before, speaking to her privately (no cameras in sight) and signing items. He doesn't do it for the publicity. He's very private, and didn't snub her. Most fans' would be thrilled with one autograph by any player - she has several. so drop it already.

asshalo's picture

This is perfect, Aaron. Hits every point and never says too much or too little.

Even Florio's supporters and friend's had a hard time defending him today.

His defense was even more shameful, blaming Cavanaugh for being too star-struck to see his viewpoint and labeling anyone a Rodgers apologist who points out his knee-jerk reaction or his failure to practice due diligence in checking the story's facts.

Ceallaigh's picture

Florio's response was like the abusive spouse's backhanded apology, "Sorry you made me beat you up."

And his 180 where he starts attacking Mrs. Cavanaugh comes across even more vile and cowardly. Does he blame rape victims as well?

If Florio wants to identify the loathsome individual from the fallout of his gotcha "journalism," all he needs to do is look in the mirror.

orourkean's picture

My comments on this got deleted from the site. Just cause I didn't agree? Florio is a joke.

mark's picture

"The Packers PR staff screwed up by letting Rodgers even be in this position and for not reacting better when the situation so blatantly needed to be handled a certain way.

And, yes, Rodgers screwed up by walking past Jan Cavanagh."

*****************

This really bugs me. NO, The Packers PR staff didn't "screw up" and NO, Rodgers didn't "screw up"...

I work in PR. I've worked in PR for over a decade. As you rightfully pointed out Rodgers does great charity work. As you also pointed out, Rodgers has given this woman attention (recently). Walking through an airport, with an ipod on, a Packer PR staffer was supposed to see this woman up ahead, see the camera crew, grab Rodgers by the arm, take his ipod out of his ear, stop him and say he must sign this one autograph??? "Oh, and Aaron, don't forget to hug her, and smile for the camera!!" Get the fuck out of here.

The Packers PR staff works hard, and this team and organization is loaded with great people who do TONS for their community.

I'll say it again: Aaron Rodgers didn't sign an autograph--for a woman he gave attention to one week prior. For this grievous sin, CHTV is throwing him and Packers PR under the bus (they both "screwed up"). You know what? No they didn't. Cut the bullshit.

In closing: the bears still suck.

packeraaron's picture

Sorry Mark - I also work in PR - and I totally disagree.

I understand you're being sarcastic but there is PLENTY that could have been done BEFORE Aaron ever stepped foot in the airport. Should a staffer have seen her there? No, a staffer should have KNOWN she'd be there. And once they saw her in front of a camera crew they should have given Rodgers a heads up to stop.

The Packers PR staff works hard? So what? I work hard - and if I screw up I will still get reprimanded. And how can you possibly say I am "throwing him under the bus"? Give me a break. No, you're right. Walking right by the woman with cancer was AWESOME. Give me a break.

In closing: Exactly.

mark's picture

In one sentence you ask: "how can you possibly say I am throwing him under the bus?" Then, two lines later, you say (with sarcasm) "walking right by the woman with cancer was AWESOME"

We all know the truth: Rodgers did nothing wrong here. In fact, it's the total opposite--he has done a lot for cancer/charity, and he was very cool to Jan.

This isn't "a public relations blunder of epic proportions"--this is a couple of bloggers losing their minds over some out-of-context bullshit. I'll leave it there.

And I'll close with this:

KILL! THE! BEARS!

packeraaron's picture

We obviously have different definitions of throwing someone under the bus.

mark's picture

It's cool man. Maybe we do. Regardless of differences, know that I'm also appreciative of CHTV/you for helping get the correct version of events out into the ether.

Go Pack!

Cutler is a jerk.

WoodyG's picture

You are correct ...... "All" bloggers have a tendency to over-react, over-state & draw conclusions based on limited information (limited info is anything 2nd hand including video) ....

However, there has to be a counter-reaction when one of those bloggers is Florio ...... The dude needs to be challenged occasionally, otherwise he's left completely unchecked at disseminating misinformation ...... Hell, I still place a good deal of blame on Florio for the derisive nature of the BF break-up with GB ..... He fanned the flames repeatedly.

al's picture

My father is a professor who teaches public relations and has worked in the business and my brother works in public relations for NASA as well and none of that really matters because i have enough common sense to know that it is impossible for ANYONE even a ultra talented athlete to sign every single thing that is handed to him, whether the person is dressed in pink or not. Come on give the dude a break, he has had the whole world riding his jock since he was drafted and we can't imagine the pressure the guy is under. GIVE HIM SOME SPACE!! especially if you want him to win this damn game this weekend. Besides they already said that he has signed lots of things for her and we don't even know if she was offended by this. Yeesh!!

thepretzelhead on twitter's picture

this story is totally meaningless...as compared to the rest of our lives which are just meaningless

al's picture

yea basically this is a "story" that was done just to have a story done, and I feel like I have only added to the problem and continue to add to the problem by posting on here.

shit...

WoodyG's picture

Florio has been caught in the past 'with his pants on the ground' ..... His reaction is always the same ....

" This is the 'final word' on this matter " ..... Then he reiterates his original premise using slightly different language as if he 'always' knew the complete story ......

Eventually, NBC will dump Florio & he'll have to dust off his law books & start chasing ambulances again ..... Count on it.

Ogre's picture

After a few days of this story I've become increasingly annoyed with how the discussion has changed on Florio's side. He started his first post on the matter discussing Aaron Rodger's not giving fans the autographs they deserve, since they showed up and stood where he was about to walk.

Once the story was out there, he defended it as a fight for the cancer patient that deserves special treatment from athletes, since they have cancer. This is so ridiculous I can't stand it. The person in front of Rodgers looking for an autograph, is an autograph seeking fan first. The fact that she is completely decked out in pink clothing could represent many things, including just being female.

Most people with cancer fight to have cancer NOT define who they are, or there existence. They struggle to fight a normal life and it would deeply bother them to be referred to as a cancer patient. My mom had breast cancer and does not own a single pink shirt/jersey/hat or anything that would tell the world that she has had cancer.

There's no way anybody who is giving out autographs can know everyone's backstory, and they shouldn't. Getting autographs is as much about luck as it is about potentially pissing off the person you're asking to stop what they're doing to sign your hat.

To quote Florio: "...I believe that cancer patients deserve the highest level of respect and deference that can be provided." Excellent Mike. Stop calling them "Cancer Patients". They are people.

Josh's picture

Good thing Florio missed the portion of the video where Rodgers steps over a homeless war vet to take some candy from an orphan and club a couple of baby seals. I can only imagine his fake outrage. PFT is boring and uninteresting. The proof? NBC bought it.

glorious80s's picture

How many autographs do you need anyway? There's a time and place, mainly charity and fan events. That said, it's nice when the players acknowledge the fans who come to see them at the airport.

Jeff Pieters's picture

Florio's defensive "Last Word" today really is the last straw as far as I'm concerned. I won't visit his web site again, even if he's publishing tomorrow's winning lotto numbers. PFT's lifeblood is web traffic. A boycott is the best weapon.

Real66's picture

Wow, Florio was indeed beaten down (no matter what he says here):

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/01/18/an-apology-to-aaron-rodg...

Dan Patrick did not shred him per se this morning, but he did use the context of character assassination to describe what was being posited by Florio - DP is a bit of a goofball to be entertaining but does not suffer fools gladly.

Real66's picture

Did not help Florio's cause that even chainsaw Gregg Doyel wrote that it was all a POS to characterize Rodgers that way.

WoodyG's picture

Amazing coming from Florio ..... However, I'd probably apologize also if every Tom, Dick & Harry were trying to push me into a hole about 6-foot deep ..... Florio deserves an upset stomach that even pepcid can't fix ....

Jeff Pieters's picture

Aaron's tweet made me look one last time. I'm still not going back to PFT. If the only reason Florio apologized is that he "felt bad," and not that he was unfair or wrong, as had been established days ago, then I guess I know all I need to about his priorities.

WoodyG's picture

I'd be curious to know how many calls Florio got from NBC execs saying "fix this now" .....

Jeff Pieters's picture

Have to imagine there was a lot of pressure.

Kevin's picture

All theoretical babble. Until I see George "Dubya" sent through one of these I won't believe it!

Mark's picture

more true than theoretical
mathematics and entanglement are incredible things

Heath's picture

I really am amazed that a sports writer would do something as stupid as this. He did no research prior....he even states it in his apology. Just a few weeks ago, there was a story about Rodgers and other packers losing one of their best fans...a little boy who they brought to practice a couple times. How did he miss that?!?!?! Unbelieveable.

dudemanicus's picture

The only reason to hate Rogers is because he's a Packer. He seems ok other than that.

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