Shailene Woodley may have just revealed the real reason why Aaron Rodgers turned down his Packers contract—and no, it isn’t because of her. Instead, it sounds like Rodgers is feeling “dismissed” and “disrespected” as the team’s star quarterback.
The NFL star, 37, made headlines on Tuesday, July 20, after he declined an extension contract from the Green Bay Packers. According to ESPN, the five-year deal would have made him the highest-paid quarterback—and player overall—in the sport. Football fans and commentators took to social media in droves following the report, with many trying to make sense of Rodgers’ decision. Among them was sports personality and host of ESPN’s First Take, Stephan A. Smith, who described his “disgust” with “all of these NFL aficionados” that “don’t understand” Rodgers’ frustrations during a segment of the show on Tuesday.
In the clip, which later landed on Twitter, Smith defended Rodgers’ choice. “This is proof of what I’ve been talking about for months. It’s not about football. It’s not just about the money,” he said. “This is about the way the Green Bay Packers have treated their star player. They have disregarded him, they have dismissed him, they have minimized him, they’ve disrespected him. And he said, ‘Bump y’all, enough is enough.’”
Woodley, for her part, retweeted the clip with no further commentary—but it doesn’t seem like any was needed, as fans immediately understood her retweet as a hint that she and her fiancé agree with Smith. The Golden Globe-nominated actress, 29, has previously been the subject of blame in the past when fans first caught wind of Rodgers’ desire to leave the team. News of his potential exit first broke in May, when ESPN senior NFL analyst Adam Schefter claimed on Twitter that Rodgers was “disgruntled” with his team.
“Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday,” Schefter’s tweet read at the time.
Just weeks after Schefter’s report broke, Rodgers seemed to make his priorities clear when he skipped out on the start of the Packers’ off-season training program to soak up the sun with his fiancée in Hawaii instead. “Aaron Rodgers was NOT among the group of players who reported to Lambeau Field on Monday for the start of organized team activities,” ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky confirmed in late May.
But even if some fans aren’t happy about Rodgers’ decisions, Woodley’s response makes it pretty clear that the choice is still all his.