No, Demovsky, Love Life is Not an Acceptable Supposition

Blaming a player's wife or girlfriend for performance struggles is an old and stale narrative. Take a higher road.

The Green Bay Packers, especially Aaron Rodgers, have been struggling as of late. Nothing seems right and everything seems off. There are many hypotheses for the causes, and none are more right or wrong than the others.

Except one.

One of them is downright repugnant.

For his Tuesday morning article, ESPN's Rob Demovsky wrote a piece analyzing five potential reasons Aaron Rodgers is struggling.

The first four ideas are completely plausible. No Jordy Nelson, no free plays, change in play caller, and the possibility of being injured can certainly impact performance on the field.

However, his fifth supposition was a very curious inclusion. At best, it was a gross over-simplification and a poor choice of words gone way wrong, and at worst, it was a gross over-simplication based on something much more misogynistic.

Demovsky wrote:

A longtime NFL agent told me recently that when he sees one of his top-performing clients play differently, as Rodgers has of late, the first thing he wonders is if something is going on in his personal life. There’s no indication that Rodgers’ relationship status has changed. Lions reporters said they spotted Rodgers’ girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn, at Lambeau Field on Sunday

[When Demovsky's story first published, his fifth point was originally titled "Love Life." He has since changed it to "Possible Off-Field Issues." Take that editorial decision any way you like.]

I've always respected Demovsky and he's been one of my favorite beat reporters. But, this is entirely disappointing. I expected better from a beat reporter, and not someone who slums to the level of the @JSComments section.

Demovsky's fifth point started out well. It's true that athletes are humans and their personal lives can, and will, impact their performance.

But, he should have left it at merely the idea of possibly having personal issues. Why did he feel the need to mention Olivia Munn specifically by name? Why did he seem to blame it on the woman?

That narrative is old and stale. 

Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit. Pandora's box unleashed all the evils to the world. Yoko broke up the Beatles. Memo Paris was the reason Roy Hobbs fell into a terrible slump in the movie The Natural. Jessica Simpson ruined Tony Romo for awhile.

Before you jump all over me, I'm not alone in objecting to Demovsky's point.

I'm actually not too surprised, although I am extremely disappointed. I get that page clicks and comments are what drive websites. I get that it's a slow news week and there's only so many ways to to describe the turd that the Packers' offense has become.

The entire offense is struggling. Why only discuss QB1's love life?

Davante Adams has a case of the drops. Must be his love life. Randall Cobb isn't very productive this year. Maybe it has something to do with Aiyda Ghahrmani.

Play calls are inefficient and predictable. Must be something to do with Mrs. Clements. 

Do these sound like ridiculous comments and ideas?

Yes, because they are. It's no different than Demovsky suggesting Olivia Munn has anything to do with receivers not getting open or an offensive line that can't keep her boyfriend upright.

I expected better. 

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Comments (33)

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm

"There’s no indication that Rodgers’ relationship status has changed. Lions reporters said they spotted Rodgers’ girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn, at Lambeau Field on Sunday."

So if she wasn't at Lambeau the same assumption could/would be made for the 5th reason.

By virtue of Demovsky writing this can it be assumed that the reason is a personal one for his failing with his article.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Actually, I'm considering if Olivia Munn should replace Tom Clements. She could at least act like she has some kind of emotion on the sideline.

Before any of you loose it https://www.google.com/search?q=tongue+in+cheek

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zoellner25's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Oh boy you guys. First the twitter war and now this. Give it a rest.

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zoellner25's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm

this truly is a waste of internet space and can't believe it was written or seen by us.

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RCPackerFan's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:40 pm

i'm not going to speculate that his love life has affected his play.

I will say though we have seen players play affected by various off field things. I'm not saying Rodgers has any off field issues or anything personal going on, just saying that it has happened before.

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D.D.Driver's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Last season, Rodgers started off the year looking pretty average. It also coincided with his girlfriend being the victim of a nude photo leak. I''ve wondered whether there was a connection. Seeing someone you care about go through something like that doesn't seem like it would be easy.

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Gianich's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

The O-line is playing like garbage! It's not that hard to figure out

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KCousineau09's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

I guess we read Rob's post completely differently. I read it as Rob's source, the agent, telling him to look at 12's personal life. Is something different there? Rob then followed that up stating that Rodgers' girlfriend was at the game. We don't know if there is any issue there. And for the record, I don't give a shit either way. But maybe...just maybe, there is something else going on in his personal life that doesn't involve his girlfriend.

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zoellner25's picture

November 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm

agreed. is it his mom? his dad? his brother? his other brother? his mailman? his barber? his brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate? It's stupid....and creates twitter followers and web hits....and nothing else productive

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 17, 2015 at 01:24 pm

Exactly how does a tip from an unnamed agent entitle Demovsky to speculate about AR's personal life? Good journalists would investigate the information before throwing it out there for click bait.

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egbertsouse's picture

November 17, 2015 at 04:49 pm

The 1st amendment entitles him. That's probably Con. Law I at WKU.

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chugwater's picture

November 17, 2015 at 05:46 pm

I'll ask the question a different way. Why bring OM up without one fact or source that points to their relationship as the root of his poor performance on the field? This is the internet. People will take Rob's 'speculation' and run with it even though it's unfair.

Is it legal? Yeah. Should Rob have exercised more discretion as a trusted journalist instead of wasting his reputation on dumb innuendo? Absolutely. I normally love reading Rob's work, but I had to roll my eyes on this one when reading #5. He's better than that.

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 18, 2015 at 04:39 am

That was actually Con Law at U of L law school, WKU only had business law. AR and Olivia are public figures, so the New York Times v. Sullivan standard applies here.

The First Amendment allows Demovsky to write that moon is made of green cheese. That doesn't mean it's good journalism. However, this story apparently does tickle the prurient interest of many.

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 17, 2015 at 01:19 pm

Thank you Jay. Repugnant, despicable, pure trash.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

November 17, 2015 at 01:26 pm

I think its all of them, I have to tell you I was waiting for something like this to come out. When they can not nail it on something then things like this come out.

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egbertsouse's picture

November 17, 2015 at 04:43 pm

Wow! Talk about an overreaction and blowing something totally out of proportion. The writer has taken a comment that, to paraphrase, says that sometimes performance problems can be caused by relationship issues but that doesn't appear to be the case here, and turns it into an attack on women and the American family. And turns Olivia Munn into a combination of Susan B. Anthony and Joan of Arc. My God! These people are both entertainers and are in the public eye because they like it and it makes them huge amounts of money. Speculation on their personal life is part of the territory. Oh, by the way Mr. Hodgson, linking Demovsky's somewhat moderate comments to the crazy crap on JS online is as much bullshit journalism as that you are decrying in your piece.

What's next? An article charging J.J. Watt with encouraging persecution of all red heads on earth by comparing Andy Dalton to a Red Ryder BB gun?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 18, 2015 at 12:38 am

Well said (though I don't get the Dalton reference).

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WinUSA's picture

November 17, 2015 at 05:10 pm

Totally agree with Ebersourse.... Even the strongest are subject to emotional issues. A broken heart can affect ANYONE'S concentration, intensity, or will.

To suggest that this is not a possibility is absurd. The criticism just caters to the vogue, contemporary, social pressures to brush over the fact that a women can promote responses that are unfavorable.

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packersbrewers's picture

November 17, 2015 at 05:34 pm

Actually yeah it is.

Athletes like any other human deserve a personal life. He can date whomever he wants and do whatever he wants when he isn't playing football. However people will question his personal life because he's in the spot light and rakes in millions of dollars to play a game.

Pretty much all jobs require you to be mentally sound but when 20 million people are watching you when you are struggling it can cause people to start to speculate about the reasons why.

Is it Munn's fault? No.

It's Aaron Rodgers fault. All the way.

If he is not focused on the game or not preparing as much as before that's 110% on HIM not on her. Even if she demands he spends 23 hours a day with her he can tell her to take a hike.

Plenty of athletes date and marry and we are none the wiser. If they continue to perform well no one cares.

But when a high profile athlete who we are accustomed to see perform at a very high level suddenly doesn't you start to look at why and look at things that are different or have changed to cause the problem.

Right or wrong speculation into his personal life will come up.

I think we all know that dating can affect your mental state. If things are going well you are happy and you want to spend time with that person and maybe that extra hour at work just isn't worth it today because you want to be with that person instead. Or maybe you got into a fight and now things are going badly and you can't shake it off.

Personal lives can and do impact anyone's performance on the job and if your job is throwing a football where 20 million people are watching you do that you can bet that speculation will pop up.

I don't know why people are so dramatic about that being brought up as a possibility. It's like people refuse to believe that can be an issue when we all know it can. No one is saying it IS the issue and nothing else could be the reason. People are just saying it COULD be an issue. And it could be. And running around screaming that it can't be just because he's allowed to date someone is absurd.

Personal lives do affect your mental state. Even Aaron Rodgers. We just talk about his job performance more than 99% of other people's job performance because he's paid to throw a football instead of type on a computer or pound some nails.

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jimtalkbox's picture

November 17, 2015 at 05:38 pm

Admittedly, Demovsky probably shouldn't have "gone there" with his article and I think it's a tad on the unprofessional side, but THIS article is also an overreaction.

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PackerAaron's picture

November 17, 2015 at 07:26 pm

Perfect comment.

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Packer_Pete's picture

November 17, 2015 at 07:47 pm

You are right. But the issue is not only that RD 'went there'. He brings up a rumor or better speculation of an agent, unnamed of course. Then he says all indications are that he still has OM as girlfriend and she was at the game. That's not just a tad unprofessional. Basically any reader of that has to conclude if there is something it has to be with OM. Not anyone in his family or close circle of friends. And based on what exactly? An unconfirmed speculation of a source he doesn't name. That's terrible. A journalist buddy of mine told me once that he wasn't allowed to put anything into writing unless it was confirmed by at least 2 sources. Subpar writing. So I guess RD has issues at home? At least that's what I heard from some unconfirmed editor of a school newspaper...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 18, 2015 at 01:54 am

Nonsense. Ask any business owner or manager about dealing with an employee's sudden diminished work quality and one of the possibilities will include the agent's comment - personal life. It can be a sick child, parent, spouse, money problems, divorce, 2nd job, drugs/alcohol, etc. Demovsky doesn't need to "source" that. If the employee is single with no children, then the significant other issue simply is somewhat more likely, without precluding other possibilities. As a former business owner, I had to consider whether the employee's poor work was my fault (did I change his duties - is he/she not capable of doing the new assignments or just does not like them - or has there been a change in the work environment). As for the suggestion that mentioning Ms. Munn is misogynistic, that seems absurd to me. The end of any significant relationship can distract or depress an employee, and the result can be the same regardless of whether the employee is female, (and regardless of whether the employee "dumped", or is dumped by, the significant other), or if the employee is male and the SO is female. In the NFL, all the players are male.

If a fashion magazine mentioned that a supermodel had been fired because she was late, looked or acted tired, I would not be surprised if the magazine mentioned that the model had been seen holding hands with her SO, particularly if the model in question had been Gisele and the SO had been Tom Brady. This atmosphere of microaggression must terrify current business owners.

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 18, 2015 at 04:54 am

I agree with all you said tgr. However, Demonsky has no proof that any of those things happened, that's my beef. He's publishing pure speculation and presenting as the truth.

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Packer_Pete's picture

November 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

I agree with WKUPackFan. And it is not that i disagree what RD wrote isn't a possibility. But he could've just added that maybe there is something else in his family or circle of friends, and illness, or whatever. Anything in the personal life. But he just mentioned OM, exclusively her, and then left it at that. Not good writing. Maybe something is there, maybe not. But RD took a speculation from an agent about potential issue in the private life, spun it by just mentioning OM, and then nothing else. Really? If that is not subpar reporting then I don't know what is. You know there are plenty of people out there who don't read carefully or don't make a distinction between rumors and fact, and for those people it is 'fact' or close to it. Especially should Rodgers continue with his subpar play in the next few games. And a writer really shouldn't go there unless there is clear cut evidence. And even then I think athletes (and all other people) should somewhat be shielded from that. Private life is private life. Of course it has an impact into professional life, but we are all human. We should give athletes some privacy as well. Critique what one sees on the field. Leave the off the field stuff alone, unless we are talking about crimes.

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Packer_Pete's picture

November 17, 2015 at 06:37 pm

So next time Rob Demovsky is writing a subpar article, is it safe to assume he has problems at home with his partner? Don't know who that is, but it must be the case regardless

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 19, 2015 at 11:25 am

Thought you may like this Packer_Pete. Per PFT-Olivia Munn's tweet:

"Playing it fast & loose with the journalism @RobDemovsky. Your professional skills are lacking....you must be having personal problems at home."

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 17, 2015 at 07:35 pm

I joked about it twice last week. #BlameOliviaMunn. Again, let's not go all Dallas here people.

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Oppy's picture

November 18, 2015 at 01:05 am

Half the idiots in the world think Aaron Rodgers is gay and Olivia Munn is a beard, the other half of the idiots in the world think he's so emotionally wrapped up in Olivia Munn that she is destroying his game.

As usual, find the common thread and you've found where the truth lies.

In this case, the truth is clear: They are all idiots.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 18, 2015 at 05:12 am

The answer for the largest secrets are always simple. Larger secret more simplier is the answer. People very often looking in the wood and do not see tree. Answer is very simple and we all will be stunned when we find it.

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WKUPackFan's picture

November 18, 2015 at 05:59 am

Philosophy from Crotian, I love it!

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Big_Mel_75's picture

November 18, 2015 at 08:20 am

Any one who thinks players lives outside the game of football don't effect their play don't remember Brett Favre destroying the Raiders after his father died, or MJ after his dad was murdered. Point being it is entirely possible Munn or something else is making Rodgers head cloudy. We have come so use to Rodgers playing extremely well and never bad more then a game. So grasping at straws at what is wrong. His 5 possible reason seemed legit to me. MM says the fundamentals where bad for like the 100000 time over his career.

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CoryJennerjohn's picture

November 19, 2015 at 01:16 pm

The reason why Rob Demovsky's article was iffy is because Olivia Munn has no bearing on the Packers. Journalistic integrity took a wrong turn when this story was posted at ESPN.com and Demovsky obviously feels the same way or else he wouldn't have changed the headline.

I've been around Rob for awhile when he was writing for the Press-Gazette. This list looks like it was something that came from the four-letter and not from Rob himself.

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