As the 2021 regular season races toward the playoffs, the usual dialogue regarding who deserves the annual NFL MVP honor is officially at full throat. There are several worthy adversaries, from newcomers to the conversation like running back Jonathan Taylor and wide receiver Cooper Kupp, to usual suspects in Tom Brady and reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers. And after the Green Bay Packers clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC last week -- for the second consecutive season -- it's Rodgers who is beginning to pull away from the pack, but one MVP voter in particular vehemently disagrees.
Hub Arkush, a Chicago sportscaster, analyst and executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, recently disclosed to 670 The Score in Chicago that there is no way Rodgers will earn his MVP vote this season. As for why that is, well, he has his reasons.
"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, via 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. And so, from where I sit, the rest of it is why he's not gonna be my choice."
Arkush is undoubtedly referencing the in-season scandal that involved Rodgers using doublespeak regarding his vaccination status -- labeling himself in the offseason as "immunized" -- a move that created a firestorm between the Packers and the league after it was realized he was unvaccinated (following a positive COVID-19 test) and had broken NFL protocols. He'd go on to miss the Week 9 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the only three losses on the Packers record, before returning the following week to take on the Seattle Seahawks.
Rodgers was not suspended for his actions, but Arkush isn't letting the matter go. He'll hold Rodgers' feet to the fire when it comes time for MVP voting to commence, and much to the chagrin of many around the league.
Former two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long joined the fray as well, skewering Arkush for his decision.
"This is dumb," Long wrote, via Twitter. "He lied, the cancellation boogeyman isn't real, but this is dumb. Also, if you think he's the biggest jerk in the league, you don't know players. He's the MVP.
"This is about football."
Arkush may not be the only voter with this train of thought, but he's the one who said it out loud and, as such, the aforementioned boogeyman is now at his door.
The public shaming didn't stop with Hayward and Long though, and not by any stretch of the imagination, with players and media members alike taking aim at Arkush for allowing his personal feelings about a player to override his assessment of MVP-caliber play. That said, it's not the first time such a thing has happened in the NFL (ask Terrell Owens about his Hall of Fame process) and certainly won't be the last, but Rodgers will likely garner more than enough votes to land the award for a second consecutive season.
But it has zero chance of being unanimous.