GREEN BAY – Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't hold back Wednesday.
When asked for his response to Associated Press MVP voter Hub Arkush declaring on a Chicago radio show he wouldn't be casting his MVP vote for Rodgers because he's a "bad guy" and "the biggest jerk in the league" for his offseason and vaccine-related controversies, Rodgers fired back.
"I think he's a bum," Rodgers said. "Think he's an absolute bum. He doesn't know me. I don't know who he is.
"I listened to the comments, but to say he had his mind made up in the summertime, in the offseason, that I had zero chance of winning MVP, in my opinion should exclude future votes."
Head Coach Matt LaFleur concurred that it raises questions about a voter's worthiness to consider the issues Arkush mentioned.
"We hold that award in high regard. I think most do," LaFleur said prior to the Packers' practice Wednesday. "I think it's an absolute privilege to be able to vote for that award. To consider anything else outside of what you see when that player's out there playing I think is a disservice to everybody."
Rodgers is viewed as a leading candidate for his fourth NFL MVP award, having thrown 35 touchdown passes against just two interceptions since the Packers' dud of an opener vs. New Orleans.
Even including that rough game, Rodgers leads the league with a 111.1 passer rating, and the Packers have the league's best record at 13-3 with the No. 1 seed for the NFC playoffs already clinched heading into this week's regular-season finale at Detroit.
Rodgers is expected to start against the Lions but perhaps not play the whole game. Since it doesn't factor into the Packers' playoff prospects, there's little about this final performance that will sway votes one way or the other. The MVP award is for the regular season only and votes from the 50-member AP panel are cast before the playoffs begin.
"I'm not going to waste any time worrying about that stuff," Rodgers continued, regarding Arkush. "He has no idea who I am. He's never talked to me in his life. It's unfortunate those sentiments … it's surprising that he would even say that to be honest. But I knew this was possible."
Rodgers was referencing a conversation he had earlier this season during his weekly appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" that all the controversy surrounding him this year – both during the offseason when there was uncertainty whether he'd continue playing for the Packers, and two months ago when he tested positive for COVID-19 and he had previously told the media and public he was "immunized" when the NFL did not consider him vaccinated – might impact the media voting for him for various NFL awards and accolades.
"Obviously I've made it a little more difficult by the way I've played in the last six weeks," Rodgers said of voters looking past his strong season on the field. "I think the MVP should be about the most valuable player on the team.
"A lot of times it goes to the best player on the best team, and we're the best team. So if voters want to use the offseason or don't like my stance being unvaccinated, that's their prerogative. I don't think it's right, but that's their prerogative."
If Rodgers does win his fourth MVP, he'd become just the second player since the AP award's inception in 1957 to win more than three. Peyton Manning won five in his career, while last year Rodgers joined a select group of others – Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Tom Brady, and former teammate Brett Favre – who have won three.
Rodgers is also trying to become the first back-to-back MVP winner since Manning in the 2008-09 seasons.