For several month news reports have hinted at a rift between Aaron Rogers and his family. The rift was first mentioned by Aaron’s younger brother, Jordan, who appeared on the television show “The Bachelorette.” In one segment, Jordan Rogers confessed to JoJo Fletcher, the show’s star, that Aaron had not spoken to the rest of the family for two years and would not be there when Fletcher came to meet his family.
Jordan Rogers, who is four years younger than his 33-year-old brother, eventually became engaged to JoJo Fletcher and they are planning a wedding. Aaron Rogers, the famous Green Bay Packers quarterback, did not appear at the engagement party nor did he send his congratulations to his brother. Since then more news has come out about this rift in bits and pieces.
A report in US Weekly blamed actress Olivia Munn for the rift. An anonymous source commented, “Aaron is the one that has pulled away from the family, not the reverse. When he got together with Olivia Munn, his family told him they didn’t trust her and thought she wasn’t with him for the right reasons. That made him furious, and he ended up choosing Olivia over his family.” According to this source, Munn, noted for her TV role in “The Newsroom” has a strong personality and “every meeting she has had with [Rodgers’ family] has gone badly.”
Rodgers’ father, Ed, opened up about his family’s rift in an interview with the New York Times. “Fame can change things,” Ed Rodgers said, adding he didn’t want to say more because he didn’t think washing dirty laundry in public was appropriate. “Airing public laundry is not what I would have chosen,” he said, but “it’s good to have it all come out.” In other words, he didn’t want to do it but he was glad his youngest son did it.
An article in People pointed to the sibling rivalry between Aaron, the middle child of three brothers, and Jordan, his younger brother. A source close to Aaron commented, “[They] have always been competitive, and they’re always trying to one-up each other. It’s been that way since they were kids. They got older, and the stakes got higher.” According to the insider, there was a “blow-up” about two years ago when the Rodgers brothers got into a “regrettable” disagreement: “It wasn’t an argument about anything all that interesting. Some things were said on both sides that were regrettable.”
The source went on to say that eventually the whole family got involved in the blow up. “Their parents got involved in the middle of it. Everyone needed a cooling-off period. It could have ended there, but some people chose to go public with it, rather than keeping it a private family matter. And here we are.”
Prior to this blow-up the brothers, though rivals, were on speaking terms. According to reports, Aaron’s girlfriend, Munn, was friendly with Jordan and introduced him to her personal trainer, Brittany Farrar. Jordan Rogers and Farrar began dating and were apparently having an exclusive relationship when Farrar informed Munn that Jordan had cheated on her. Farrar soon broke up with Jordan, and Munn took Farrar’s side and cut Jordan off. Munn made her alliance with Farrar clear when she “liked” a post that Brittany shared on Instagram at the time Jordan went on The Bachelorette, claiming he was unfaithful to her during their relationship. In the post Farrar quipped, “Riding the bench doesn’t get in the way of a relationship, but cheating does.” The phrase, “riding the bench,” referred to Jordan’s struggle to be a quarterback in the NFL.
Both brothers were quarterbacks in college. Aaron did great things at the University of California and has done even greater things at Green Bay, not to mention the many popular television commercials he has made. His brother Jordan also quarterbacked in college but was not able to make the jump to the NFL. It may be that Jordan’s rivalry with his brother spurred him to become a contestant on The Bachelorette, which afforded him the chance to get some fame of his own. He ended up winning the contest and getting engaged to Fletcher.
In analyzing this family rift, I would speculate that the seeds of the rift go back to childhood. One source said they were rivals since they were kids and were always trying to outdo each other. Sometimes such a rivalry can be normal when it is good natured. However, this rivalry appears to have been more than that. The indication is that the parents (at least the father) took the younger brother’s side and continues to do so. After the blow-up, the father was quoted as saying, “I’m glad it came out.” It appears he was glad because he wanted to put pressure on his middle son, whom he appeared to regard as in the wrong when he alluded to fame changing people. It appears that by going public and implying that Aaron Rogers was the one who wasn’t speaking to them, and not the reverse, both the father and Jordan were trying to shame him.
Sometimes in families the younger son is doted on and the middle child is somewhat the “forgotten child.” Hence a rivalry ensues between the younger child and middle child. A family myth is constructed and each member of the family is cast into a certain role in the family myth. The youngest son is cast as the “underdog” and the middle child, who resents the doting and favoritism of the youngest, is cast as the “trouble-maker.” If the middle child grows up and becomes aware of the mythology and the double standard in the family—and speaks up about it—he is viewed as a family traitor.
Seen in this light, the family blow-up may have been simply an “accident waiting to happen.” Perhaps Munn had confronted Jordan about his cheating at previous family gatherings. Perhaps Aaron Rogers may have again confronted Jordan about cheating during the family blow-up. Perhaps Jordan said things about Munn and the father said things about Munn and about fame changing Aaron. Both sides, according to insiders, said things that were “regrettable.” The estrangement wasn’t helped by the family’s apparent contention that Munn had somehow influenced Aaron’s feelings about the family. I can only guess that Aaron would be insulted that his family would intimate that he couldn’t think for himself on such matters.
Rifts happen when people do not acknowledge that there are two sides to every argument. Can the two sides let go of the need to be right and engage in a constructive dialogue? Time will tell.