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Fightin' Words

Aaron Rodgers reportedly refers to Packers GM Brian Gutekunst as “Jerry Krause” in texts. It is OVER in Green Bay


Harry How

Remember ‘The Last Dance’? Right around this time last year, a whole new generation of sports fans were being introduced to the villain (anti-hero?) known as Jerry Krause. The longtime—and dearly departed—Chicago Bulls GM played a pivotal role in the ESPN documentary, largely as a foil to Michael Jordan. Jordan objected to many of Krause’s personnel decisions over the years, ultimately culminating with the choice to let head coach Phil Jackson walk after the 1998 season. That decision fractured Jordan’s relationship with the Bulls beyond repair, and after clinching a sixth and final NBA championship in Jackson’s final year as coach, Jordan walked away from the team for good.

If rumors this week are accurate, Aaron Rodgers was a big fan of ‘The Last Dance.’

Trouble has been brewing in Green Bay since last week, when rumors of the 49ers tabling a bid for Rodgers began to circulate across the upper midwest. A little after 3 p.m. on Thursday, Adam Schefter hi-jacked the A-block of a draft day NFL Live to break the news that Aaron Rodgers had informed the Packers he no longer wanted to play for the organization. A draft-night trade, always a remote possibility, never materialized, but since then the details of the rift have continued to trickle out, culminating this week with a report in The Athletic that Rodgers regularly refers to Packers GM Brian Gutekunst as “Jerry Krause” in group texts with teammates and friends.

Here’s that transcript below.

“The quarterback won’t return as long as Brian Gutekunst remains general manager of the team . . . According to sources, Rodgers has mocked Gutekunst in group chats with his teammates in Green Bay by referring to the GM as Jerry Krause. The late Krause, the general manager of the Chicago Bulls during their run of six NBA championships, was loathed by Michael Jordan for some personnel moves with which Jordan disagreed.”

As anyone who has seen ‘The Last Dance’ can attest, this is a bombshell. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s the one thing that can’t be unsaid (or, in this case, typed). It’s also, if true, absolutely hilarious.

Unfortunately for Gutekunst and Cheeseheads all across America, Krause—for all his, um, shortcomings—has one thing Gutekunst doesn’t: Six rings. They don’t give those out for NFC runner-ups. Jordan put up with Krause partly because Phil Jackson was the greatest ego manager in sports human history, and partly because the Bulls were not just winning, but winning championships. Rodgers hasn’t seen one of those since 2011.

So if this is truly the end of the A-Rod(g) Packers, don’t blame Rodgers, or Gutekunst, or even Jeopardy. Lay it all on the late and, dare we say, great Jerry Krause. Lord knows he can take it.