Aaron Rodgers appeared on “The Business of Sports” podcast with Andrew Brandt (h/t: Aaron Nagler). He provided some interesting thoughts on what is going on with Kaepernick, as well as his thoughts on player discipline and what needs to change.
After giving some cogent thoughts on what the national anthem means to him, he had the following to say when asked whether the league should discipline Kaepernick:
I think it’s a slippery slope when we start disciplining people for speaking their mind. I think Hope Solo is an example of that. I read her comments after the game when they lost to Sweden, maybe didn’t agree with them, but it’s her opinion. I don’t know when speaking your mind should get you–if you’re not being directly derogatory towards a certain group of people–I don’t know how that gets you suspended. That’s a slippery slope.
He also was asked if he would get involved in NFLPA stuff. Rodgers made it sound like he would be willing to take a prominent role as one of the stars of the game when it came time to negotiate.
If I’m fortunate enough to be around for the next one, I think it could be an opportunity to help out the next generation of players, by taking maybe more of a role in that. If it’s wanted by the union, I would be open to it because I think we need some really strong leaders when we come back to the table, and realize that, as opposed to maybe the last time the CBA rolled around, that we have more bargaining power than we showed.
Rodgers will be 36 when the next CBA expires, and barring a serious injury should still be one of the prominent figures in the league. During the last negotiation, the players relented on some of the issues, including player discipline, in order to resolve it before any games were missed. Brandt asked him about the player discipline issue, and whether things needed to change.
It’s got to. It has to change. I don’t know why the owners wouldn’t want it to change, because it’s made the league look bad a few times. I read something–you know I said that I felt like we had the opportunity to make a change in the first CBA, and I stand behind that, that statement. Many guys I don’t think were aware of how strong our position could have been had we waited a little longer. One of the things that we should have maybe pushed for was to have an independent arbitrator. I don’t think we should have to give anything for that to happen in the next negotiation. I think the owners should know it will be better if there was a change.
Many guys I don’t think were aware of how strong our position could have been had we waited a little longer. In other words, the players need to be financially able and willing to take a labor dispute into the 2020 season. The owners have huge contracts with television networks that would be affected. Rodgers is indicating, correctly, that the players need to be willing to take that step if necessary.
As for Rodgers’ opinion that the NFLPA shouldn’t have to give anything up to get a change in Roger Goodell’s arbitrary discipline system, well, good luck with that. The owners are hard-core negotiatiors and won’t give up a ham sandwich unless it earns them something in return.