Sports

Sportswriter Hub Arkush apologizes for Aaron Rodgers comments

Pretty much how it went down.

Pretty much how it went down.
Illustration: Getty Images

Yesterday, we spent some time talking about a principled stand that AP voter Hub Arkush took on voting for Aaron Rodgers for MVP. You may not agree with the principles, and they were probably on the self-righteous side (it’s been a habit of Hub’s for years), but at least they were his. And you could understand, even if you didn’t agree.

So I guess it wasn’t much of a surprise that Hub walked them all back as soon as anyone got upset, especially Aaron Rodgers, who called Arkush “a bum.”. Arkush posted a groveling apology to anyone who would accept it yesterday, and in the process ripped the hood off what sportswriters, for the most part, are after today.

It hit all the notes. Arkush claimed to have made “a terrible mistake.” He mentioned how much of an honor it is to be one of the select few to get to vote for postseason awards in the NFL. He talked about how one of the codes of having that vote is to not disclose any leanings on how he might vote until after the awards are announced. He feared his opinions brought pressure onto other voters, who might be questioned to also make their votes public and reveal the reasons behind their decisions. And then he sucked up harder to Rodgers than a pilot fish.

Here are a few lines:

“I made a terrible mistake. It was completely my fault. There is no one else to blame, and I am here to try and apologize.

I own this and I couldn’t be more sorry.”

All of this because Arkush was simply…honest.

Everything Arkush wrote in his apology is farmland runoff, and pretty much signals what’s important to these reporters about the job. That’s their precious access, their privileges, and to remain in the secret club without ever having to justify it. And none of that really has anything to do with covering their chosen sport. To quote Saint Carlin, “It’s a big club…and you ain’t in it!”

What was Arkush’s mistake? Giving an honest opinion? He’s allowed that. And Rodgers is a jackass who held his team hostage over the summer simply because he felt like it, and then lied to them and the league when it came to testing and vaccination, and then amplified the exact horseshit that keeps all of us in this morass longer than we ever needed to be. That’s more than enough to call him a jerk.

While I’m sure Arkush and the other 49 voters enjoy their status as voters for postseason awards, it shouldn’t be the end-all be-all. It’s not the endgame. It should be the exact kind of thing that a writer should be willing to exchange for their honesty and principles, if they had any, especially when they’re on the right side of the debate. If you’re willing to hold your award-voter status as sacred over all, why should we care about your opinion? Clearly you can be bought and influenced.

We have dealt with this whole not-making-votes-public thing, and all it is is writers not wanting to have to answer for their reasoning and votes. It’s not an integrity thing, it’s an entitlement thing. And all his “buddies” who are also doing the voting should have his back. I’m fairly sure the AP as a whole, in theory, would go along with that.

Arkush, like anyone else, is just protecting his access, fearing that perhaps no one would give him the scoops he has had for years. We used to think that reporters breaking news was the result of dogged work, but now it’s just reading the script they’re handed. And Arkush is terrified of losing those scripts.

We saw the other day that Ken Rosenthal lost his MLB Network gig for being honest. You didn’t hear him apologize or grovel or desperately cling to his position. He moved on and got on with his job.

Don’t worry Hub, I’m sure Rodgers will grant you that interview next time so you can lob whatever softball questions you’d like, and you can vote for him for MVP next year when he’s a Bronco. At least you’ll be happy. 

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