GREEN BAY -- On the days Aaron Rodgers speaks to the media, it’s always a "circus."
Television cameramen and women jostle one another, flipping open their step stools on feet and ankles and pushing reporters out of the way. Television anchors, radio, print and online reporters do their best to squeeze in, knocking recorders into arms and hands.
This is just for a normal fall Wednesday.
Friday afternoon was different.
Even the veteran beat reporters that cover the team sort of half-stepped in hesitation as they came down from the media work room at Lambeau Field and saw the horde waiting to get into the first open locker room of the 2013 NFL season – and that rush circled Rodgers’ corner locker moments after the doors opened.
The main topic at hand was of course, Rodgers’ friend Ryan Braun and his acceptance of a 65-game suspension due to violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement.
In front of that horde of media, Rodgers said: "Well, I was shocked, I really was, just like I know many of you were. I was backing up a friend, who looked at me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations, said they weren’t true. It’s disappointing, not only for myself as a friend but for obviously Wisconsin sports fans, Brewer fans, Major League Baseball fans. It doesn’t feel great being lied to like that, and I’m disappointed about the way it all went down."
While Rodgers said he didn’t regret having his friend’s back, but admitted being so public – and vehement – with it probably wasn’t the best approach, and he does believe in forgiveness, he did say this when asked if he remained friends with the Brewers’ slugger:
"I was disappointed in the way it went down. I trusted him. That's the thing that probably hurts the most."
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.