Thursday, January 20, 2011

Aaron Rodgers

I don't know how much play this story got on TV or in newspapers or anyplace else, but I heard about it on Yahoo! Sports, in a piece called "Cancer Patient Snubbed by Rodgers Comes Out in His Defense."

As you can see in the story, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, was walking to a plane when he ignored a woman who was seeking an autograph. As you can see in the video, the woman is obviously a cancer survivor -- dressed all in pink, with very short hair. The video also shows at least one of Rodgers's teammates stopping to sign her shirt.

And so begins the controversy: Rodgers being mean to a woman with cancer. Apparently, Mike Florio from NBC Sports thinks he treated her "like a panhandler with leprosy."

Oh, please.

As the title of the article makes clear, the woman was OK with the "snub" -- Rodgers had actually autographed stuff for her before. And even if he hadn't, as the woman herself says, pro athletes have the right to sign or not sign autographs for whomever they choose.

Florio (who actually apologized later on for jumping on Rodgers before he knew all the facts) tries to make this about how to treat fans -- any fans -- but really, he means fans with cancer.

And that's where I have a problem.

Now, I'm all for famous people doing nice things for people with cancer. Look back at some early Lympho Bob posts: I got free stuff from the band Dropkick Murphy's, and a letter from Red Sox manager Terry Francona. And I was, and am, deeply appreciate of both of those gestures. They did those nice things for me because they knew I and my family were going through a rough time, and we needed the pick up. And it worked.

But if I had ever made such a request on my own (I got the stuff from Dropkick and Tito because nice people asked them to do those things for me), and the response I got was "I wish I could help, but we get so many requests that it's impossible to fufill them all," then I would have been OK with it.

Being outraged by such a response on my behalf, the way lots of people were outraged by the Rodgers situation, would have also been a nice gesture. But a little part of me thinks that the attitude that people had toward her was mostly about protecting the fragile cancer patient.

Watch the video. That lady's not too fragile.

The story calls her a "cancer patient." She's a cancer survivor.

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