Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers called NFL-award voter Hub Arkush a "bum" on Wednesday, a day after the longtime Chicago sportswriter said he would not vote for Rodgers as 2021 AP NFL Most Valuable Player based on the QB's character and off-field issues.
Along with calling Arkush a "bum," Rodgers added that he believed Arkush's issues with him are centered on his status of being unvaccinated.
"I think he's a bum," Rodgers said Wednesday in a scheduled news conference. "I think he's an absolute bum. He doesn't know me. I don't know who he is. No one knew who he was, probably, until yesterday's comments. 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. His problem isn't with me being a bad guy or the biggest jerk in the league because he doesn't know me, he doesn't know anything about me. I've never met him. I've never had lunch with him. I've never had an interview with him.
"His problem is I'm not vaccinated. If he wants to go on a crusade and collude and come up with an extra letter to put on the award just for this season and make it the Most Valuable Vaccinated Player, then he should do that. But he's a bum, and I'm not going to waste any time worrying about that stuff. He doesn't know what I do, who I am. He's never talked to me in his life. It's unfortunate that those sentiments. … It's surprising that he would even say that to be honest. But yeah, I knew this was possible. I talked about it on [the Pat McAfee Show a] weeks ago. But crazy."
Rodgers, who won the 2020 MVP and is viewed as one of the frontrunners for this year's accolade, memorably held out of most Packers offseason activities due to discontent with team management before reporting to training camp. During the 2021 season, Rodgers missed Week 9 following a positive COVID-19 test that revealed he was unvaccinated despite having told media members he had "been immunized."
Arkush spoke Tuesday on Chicago's 670 The Score radio show and tabbed Rodgers, a three-time MVP, as "the biggest jerk in the league."
"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 Most Valuable Player," Arkush said, per USA Today. "Has he been the most valuable on the field? Yeah, you could make that argument, but I don't think he is clearly that much more valuable than Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp or maybe even Tom Brady. So from where I sit, the rest of it is why he's not gonna be my choice.
"Do I think he's gonna win it? Probably. A lot of voters don't approach it the way I do, but others do, who I've spoken to. But one of the ways we get to keep being voters is we're not allowed to say who we are voting for until after the award has been announced. I'm probably pushing the envelope by saying who I'm not voting for. But we're not really supposed to reveal our votes."
Arkush spoke again Wednesday and said he made a "big mistake" because, as one of 50 Associated Press voters for the annual NFL awards, he's not supposed to disclose who he plans to vote for, or not vote for.
"The only thing they really ask us is to not tell people who we voted for until the award is presented. What they really mean is just don't talk about it, and the reason, in part, is because of exactly what's happened here," Arkush said, per USA Today. "I feel awful about it and I really wish it hadn't happened."
Rodgers has quarterbacked the Packers (13-3) to the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the second consecutive season and their third NFC North title in a row. His 111.1 passer rating leads the NFL, as does his 35-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In each of the previous three seasons in which a quarterback has had 35 or more touchdown passes and five or fewer interceptions, he has won that season's MVP award, including Rodgers last year and in 2014, according to NFL Research.
Rodgers and the Packers play their regular-season finale Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
The 2021 AP MVP award will be revealed Thursday, Feb. 10 during NFL Honors.