Of all the just-so-damn-likable athletes out there, Aaron Rodgers might be one of the most damn likable. He has great commercials; he’s handsome but not too handsome; he’s dating someone who’s beautiful yet (seems) fun and approachable; and also he is very good at football. He also seems deeply normal, at least insofar as NFL quarterbacks go — which is why the airing of his dirty family laundry has felt wildly out of character.
You likely know Rodgers’s younger brother Jordan, a contestant on The Bachelorette. (He’s the one with the slightly narrower face, but you’re forgiven if you’ve confused him with one of the other remaining contestants, since they are nearly identical). Last night was the franchise’s hometown visits, meaning Jordan Rodgers, son of Ed and Darla Rodgers, brother to Luke and Aaron, was going back to where it all began. Perhaps we were going to finally get some intel on what exactly started America’s favorite quarterback’s family feud?
That didn’t happen. There were lots of faux-pained expressions and put-on angst from Jordan, ample fire-stoking from Luke, and general “we’re not going there” vibes from Mom and Pop Rodgers. But there were a handful of vague references to Aaron’s absence, including but not limited to:
“It hurts him to bring up [the separation with Aaron].”
“The last year or two, his brother hasn’t been a part of his life.”
“Where did things go wrong?”
“So is [the estrangement with Aaron] something we don’t talk about?”
“He really misses Aaron but he doesn’t like talking about it.”
“It pains both of us that we don’t have that relationship, like we miss our brother … I trust that God brings things full circle.”
“We’ve walked through the stuff that we’ve walked through.”
“I miss my brother a lot, especially in moments like this.”
And, my personal favorite, uttered by JoJo: “He is nobody’s brother.”
Actually, he is! Remember how you told him he and his brothers all look the same, like, hours before saying this?
While the Rodgers father made a couple of mild allusions to Aaron’s absence, most of the above accusations came from Luke and Jordan, who made it sound like their famous brother got caught up in said fame and sort of ditched the fam. Unfortunately, the hometown episode did not reveal many specifics about this familial drama; the only semi-detail mentioned is that Aaron’s been MIA for “about the last year or two.” So let’s recap the general conspiracy theories:
1. To date, the one solid suggestion about this fallout is tied to Aaron’s girlfriend, Olivia Munn, who is friends with Jordan’s ex, Brittany Farrar. Farrar suggested via Instagram earlier in the season that Jordan had cheated on her. She remains friends with Munn; she posted a picture with the actress about two months ago. She’s gone to games with Munn, too, suggesting she has at least some sort of relationship with Aaron. Is Jordan — and his entire family — just pissed that Aaron and his girlfriend associated with the ex? Seems dumb, right?
2. Another conclusion is maybe the Rodgerses just don’t like Munn. There were whispers starting in 2015 that the actress was the cause of some sort of rift. At the time, it had to do with some wedding Aaron didn’t go to; Munn had previously talked about their sex life on a radio show — they don’t have sex on game day! — and apparently the Rodgers camp was not about it. The timeline makes sense on this one: Luke hasn’t posted photos supporting the Packers for about a year and a half now, and the only one with Aaron is from over four years ago. (Notice how Jordan and Luke love to post family photos minus Aaron; check out Luke’s Twitter banner, please. It screams “WE’RE ALL OK WITHOUT YOU.” Hashtag, brothers.) And the recurring theme of the Rodgers family fight, as presented on The Bachelorette, is that Aaron chose fame and football over family (with Munn being a part of that equation, presumably), while Jordan chose to remain tight with the pack.
3. A third option: Aaron Rodgers is extremely embarrassed that his baby brother is using his name to get a lame gig on a reality show and wants nothing to do with him or his family. It’s one thing to go on the show — honestly, we’re starting to run out of people who haven’t been on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette — but then to use family drama as a story line? I do not blame Aaron Rodgers.
My gut tells me it’s a combination of the above — the Rodgerses didn’t love Munn, which started a rift, the Farrar drama escalated it, and now Aaron is deeply ashamed of Jordan going on national television and acting like his family was spurned. Not that the show will ever acknowledge any of this, but still, it adds up.
Also, it’s worth noting that it feels like Luke in particular is bent on pushing the “Aaron ditched us” narrative, while Aaron quietly sits … possibly waiting. Hopefully, because then we will have us a very white, middle-America version of the Kim-Kanye-Taylor saga, and I’m ready for it.
I’ll leave you with this: Luke Rodgers is Team Swift. Whose side do you want to be on?