Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers called Hub Arkush “a bum” and said The Score’s NFL expert should be removed from MVP voting after saying Tuesday on the station that he won’t vote for Rodgers because of off-the-field issues.
“He’s a bum … an absolute bum,” Rodgers told reporters Wednesday. “His problem is, I’m not vaccinated.” Rodgers added that perhaps the award should be renamed to “the most vaccinated player.”
Arkush said Wednesday on The Score that he regrets revealing his thoughts on the award. He doesn’t support Rodgers in particular for putting his team at risk by feigning being vaccinated against COVID-19. Arkush has received blowback for his comments from many media outlets, and he addressed the situation on the “Bernstein & Rahimi” show.
“I made a big mistake last night, and it doesn’t really have much to do with Aaron Rodgers,” Arkush said. “Being one of the 50 selectors in the AP poll is a real honor and a privilege. The only thing that they ask us is not to tell people who we voted for until the award is presented. And what they really mean is don’t talk about it. And the reason in part is because of exactly what’s happened here.
“The thing that I feel really awful about is most of the other 49 [voters] are acquaintances and a lot of them are friends, and I’ve now put them in an unfortunate position where they have to be asked about it. And that’s just wrong, and I feel awful about it and I really wish it hadn’t happened. The only thing I can do going forward is respect what I failed to respect last night and just not talk about it anymore until after the awards have been given.”
On the “Parkins & Spiegel” show Tuesday, Arkush was asked if he would consider voting for Rodgers, who has been criticized for saying in August that he was “immunized” against COVID-19 when in fact he hadn’t received a vaccine. Rodgers missed the Packers’ Nov. 7 game against the Chiefs while he was on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
“I don’t think you can be the biggest jerk in the league and punish your team and your organization and your fan base the way he did and be the MVP,” Arkush said. “Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument. But I don’t think he is that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or Tom Brady.”
Mike Florio of NBC Sports and profootballtalk.com had harsh words for Arkush in a web post. Florio said Arkush should lose his vote because he isn’t basing it strictly on football performance.
“It’s unclear whether he’ll still own one of the 50 votes. He shouldn’t,” Florio wrote. “But not because he talked about his voting plans. He shouldn’t have a vote because he won’t vote for Rodgers for reasons unrelated to merit. And at no point on Wednesday did he say that he has reconsidered the situation or that he realizes he shouldn’t base the vote on offseason drama or vaccination prevarication.”
The NFL had no comment on the situation when asked by Florio.
“This is one of the annual Associated Press awards,” league spokesperson Brian McCarthy told profootballtalk.com via email. “It is announced during the NFL Honors show, but the league does not select the voters or oversee any element of the process. So it’s not appropriate for us to comment.”
The story has spread across the internet, with outlets such as Bleacher Report, Deadspin, Sports Illustrated and USA Today picking it up. Many offered opinions that weren’t favorable toward Arkush. Packers coach Matt LaFleur shared his thoughts with reporters Wednesday.
“I don’t know what else could factor into it other than how someone performs on a weekly basis,” LaFleur said. “If people are going to judge people for differences of opinion or things that they have no idea what the heck they are talking about, then I think that kind of discredits that award. We hold that award in high regard.
“And 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 is out there playing, I think is a disservice to everybody.”
Arkush, who has appeared in the Sun-Times, works for Shaw Media and the Daily Herald and is the executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, owned up to his mistake.
“It’s on me, I screwed up,” he said. “I don’t spend much time on Twitter, I do know that a lot of it is being presented in ways that wasn’t said, but that’s gonna happen. And I do know that some of it sounds awful because I didn’t say very well what I wanted to say.”