Aaron Rodgers agrees with the idea that NFL players should speak out on social issues more often. But the Green Bay Packers quarterback believes the NFL’s culture discourages its players from being more vocal, Jason Wilde of ESPN.com reports.
Speaking in an interview on ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch” last week, Rodgers said he read a story in which Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said NFL players need to speak out more often. Bennett also mentioned Rodgers by name in similar comments when he arrived at training camp.
Rodgers was in the crowd at the ESPYS last month and praised NBA stars LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade for opening the evening by calling on athletes to promote social change.
“It’s got to be natural, it’s got to be authentic, and I think those guys did a really good job. It was a great message,” Rodgers said. “The thing I’ll say in reference to speaking your mind, [I read] a piece on the Bennetts recently — Michael and Martellus. And I turned to a friend and I said, ‘Why do we have to say that it’s refreshing when someone speaks their mind? Or is honest now?’ I think that’s kind of a societal issue that we have.
“We need more guys like that who feel comfortable speaking their mind.”
The interview with Rodgers was conducted before riots broke out in Milwaukee on Saturday night in the aftermath of a police-involved shooting. Six businesses on the city’s north side were set on fire, four officers were injured and 17 people were arrested, according to the Milwaukee Police Department. More unrest followed Sunday night.
Asked after Monday’s practice about what had gone on in Milwaukee, which is less than two hours south of Green Bay, Rodgers replied, “I don’t know the specifics about it, but I do know that our heart goes out to those affected down there. This is a connected world. Anytime there’s a disconnect like that, it’s disappointing to see. Our thoughts and our prayers go with all of those affected, and we hope that the violence doesn’t continue down there.”