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Rodgers, Braun Relationship Not on Solid Ground at the Moment

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Rodgers, Braun Relationship Not on Solid Ground at the Moment

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Photo by Corey Behnke of CheeseheadTV.com.

Ever since it was learned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the baseball season, reaction from his high-profile friend and business partner in Green Bay has been anticipated.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stood at his locker following the first training camp practice of the 2013 football season and the first question he received was on Braun.

"I was shocked, I really was, just like I know many of you were," said Rodgers. "You know, I was backing up a friend who looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations, said they weren't true.

"It is disappointing, not only for myself as a friend, but obviously for Wisconsin sports fans, Brewers fans, Major League Baseball fans. It doesn't feel great to be lied to like that. I'm disappointed in the way it all went down."

Rodgers spoke with perhaps unexpected frankness at an awkward line of questioning regarding a personal relationship. Some athletes would avoid giving a direct answer, dance around the queries posed. But not Rodgers.

Not only did the pair of Wisconsin sports stars have a publicly acknowledged friendship, the two also have a licensing partnership with 8-Twelve MVP Bar and Grill in Brookfield, Wis. with another franchise set to open later this year in Glendale, Wis.

In regards to the quarterback's outspoken defense of his friend on social media back in 2012 that bordered on indignant righteousness, Rodgers didn't apologize, but he did express remorse in how he handled the situation.

So where does the relationship––from both a personal and business standpoint––go from here?

"That's yet to be determined," said Rodgers. "I don't regret backing a friend up. Obviously in hindsight, a more measured approach next time would be a better course of action.

"People make mistakes, and I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. Obviously he has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career on and off the field. As far as the business goes, right now I'm focused on football and I have people who can help me with those type of issues."

Rodgers also stated his belief in the importance of not betraying fans' trust in saying he feels fortunate to have had success in Green Bay and the support of Wisconsin sports fans.

The timing of new measures being taken in the NFL to discover athletes using performance-enhancing drugs couldn't be more apropos.

According to recent reports, the NFL and the players' union are close to agreeing to new measure that will test professional football players for Human Growth Hormone.

"I think that's important," said Rodgers. "I think leveling the playing field is very important. I know when the new CBA got signed that was one of the important things that they were trying to work through, and it seems like we're taking some action, steps towards that. Anything that cleans the game up is great not only for the players but for the fans and for the example we set for young players."

Braun showed disregard for the rules of Major League Baseball and now must deal with the fallout.

Many of the fans who supported him through his successful appeal back in 2012 are changing their tune, based on reaction seen and heard on social media, sports radio and any other number of platforms.

Just minutes after it happened, Rodgers reaction to Braun aired on national media from the NFL Network to ESPN. The soap box of the NFL's highest-paid player is a tall one, and it's possible that many fans will be taking their cue from the Packers quarterback.

If Rodgers' feelings toward Braun are any indication, it will be a long road back to gain the trust of those to whom he lied.

But Rodgers also left the door open to reconciliation. Where their friendship and partnership goes from here is a tale whose ending hasn't been written yet.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Stroh's picture

Rodgers did the right thing in backing his friend considering it was apparently discussed personally between them. At the same time Rodgers has to take ownership for his statements backing his "friend". THe 10k given to the guy on twitters charity of choice is a start but considering the money both are making, it seems like more should be done to me. Maybe an all expenses paid trip to Lambeau and meeting the guy would suffice.

Rodger should have used a little more restraint and if Braun has any interest in continued relationship w/ Rodgers, he should spring for anything Rodgers has put out. Just a terrible situation for both. Hope they have learned from it...

Jamie's picture

Rodgers didn't have to do jack for a random guy on twitter. He did something with a purpose, and yet didn't directly reward a guy that did nothing other than be on twitter at the right time. To make it a big reward would be caving to the blowhards out there that find fault and a victim any little chance they get.

And again, there has to be a victim in how Rodgers strongly supportingly Braun. And now again, Rodgers doesn't need to apologize for jack. He just needs to show that he's learned a lesson, and saying 'in hindsight, a more measured approach would be a better course of action." shows that he's ready to do that.

Stroh's picture

No he didn't HAVE to do Jack. But he certainly should have for his reputations sake! The donation is a nice gesture, but I think he should do more. Doing a little something is a good PR move, going out of your way for the guy would be a Really good PR move. Pretty sure Rodgers can afford it w/o hurting his lifestyle!

zeke's picture

While I think this is all much ado about nothing, if anyone should pay this guy's way to Lambeau or otherwise cover the "bet" that Rodgers made, it's Braun.

Stroh's picture

Isn't that what I said in my first comment?

zeke's picture

Yep, but your response to Jamie suggests that it's on Rodgers.

Stroh's picture

Some part of it (responsibility for what he said) is on Rodgers, IMO. But Braun, should pay Rodgers back. It was his lie, Rodgers made a good move by donating.

Clay's picture

Jamie you are wise and a great Packer fan!

Jack's picture

Rodgers should sever his business ties to Braun asap, and find new partners for his restaurants.

I would have appreciated it if Rodgers had apologized for his tweets lambasting fans who doubted Braun's protestations of innocence.

Mojo's picture

I thought Rodgers handled the Braun questions pretty well. Seemed like he was duped like many of us with Braun's adamant denials.

Also, appreciate ARod addressing his overreaction to Braun doubters. Must really sting when you go to bat for someone (did I just say that) and then find out later that he lied to your face. I do think they'll remain friendly but not true friends, if that makes sense.

Braun put Rodgers in a terrible position and Rodgers had no problem letting it be known Braun lied directly to him. Don't think either one will end up being the godfather to the others kids.

Nerd's picture

More drama for Aaron to use as "motivation." If he doesn't give himself cancer first, by holding onto all those negative emotions.

zeke's picture

Maybe that's why he's so involved with the MACC fund; showing all those kids how to channel their negative emotions.

Tommy G's picture

AR, don't feed the media. Go mum on this like you do with every other subject. F bran and all that goes with baseball's problems; it's football time, damn it!

Point Packer's picture

Who cares.

ZeroTolerance's picture

Ditto.

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