Five present and former Green Bay Packers have already sided with the teachers and other government workers demonstrating in Madison, Wisconsin, according to Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation, writing on the Huffington Post here.
Packer Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been silent so far, Zirin writes, but the Super Bowl MVP should join the five others :
I believe in athletes having the freedom and space to NOT take political stands if that’s their choice. But I also believe that there are moments in history when silence itself becomes a political stand, a luxury we cannot afford. For Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl MVP quarterback, this is one of those moments.
Zirin engages in the usual vile, false rhetoric — Gov. Walker is “The Mubarak of the Midwest,” Gov. Walker is going to militarize the capital, and state workers will have to go on food stamps if the governor gets his way:
Rodgers is a graduate of Cal Berkeley so he’s hardly unfamiliar with the power of protest. He’s, also according to my sources at the NFLPA, a fantastic union rep so he’s hardly unfamiliar with the critical necessity of collective bargaining rights. The crowds in Madison are aware of this as well. I saw dozens of Rodgers jerseys as well as signs that read, “Aaron Rodgers is a union rep!”
Gov. Walker wants a state where anything that’s not nailed down is for sale to multinational corporations. If he had his druthers, Lambeau Field would be renamed Kraft Macaroni and Cheesehead Stadium. Or he would just sell the team to Los Angeles for 50 cents on the dollar. He’s that craven, that unprincipled, that callous about the future for the people of Wisconsin.
Walker also says he has the “quiet majority” of Wisconsinites on his side. Given the unique place the Packers hold in the hearts of cheeseheads and given their status as a non-profit, fan owned team, there are no words for how much it would mean if Rodgers would issue a personal statement of solidarity. Last September, Rodgers said to the Sporting News, “Hopefully the legacy I’ll leave is one of somebody who was of high character, did things the right way, cared about his teammates, was coachable and was good to the community he lived in.” If that’s what Rodgers wants his legacy to be, the time is now. Aaron, your community needs you. Time to get your Berkeley-on and bring it to Badger-Land. One press conference, one quote, hell, one tweet. Anything but silence.
Zirin’s wrong, though. Aaron, silence is golden. Or in this case, make that green and gold-en.