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Rodgers' Cal professor story goes viral

Oct 25, 2012 -- 10:48pm
File photo/Associated Press

GREEN BAY – If that professor at California-Berkeley hasn’t heard about how she added to the chip on Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder by now, she must not own a television, a radio or have Internet access.

After the Green Bay Packers told the story Tuesday on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.comof getting an F on a paper in college at Cal, it went viral. ESPN’s NFL Live, ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, The Jim Rome Show, and a number of other media outlets picked it up and ran with it, including Yahoo!, which had the story atop its rotator on its home page.

Packers fans are quite familiar with the infamous chip on Rodgers’ shoulder. Stories abound of ways Rodgers has drawn motivation from slights; the most famous might be the one about the assistant coach from Purdue who sent a young Rodgers a rejection letter – “Good luck in your attempt at a college football career,” it read – after Rodgers mailed a high-school highlight tape to the school.

Rodgers was all too happy to tell the professor story on Tuesday, closing it by speaking directly to the professor who flunked him – and condescended to him. In case you missed it:

“I went to junior college for two semesters and then I transferred to Cal. I wanted to be a communications major, because I thought if I wasn’t able to play football professionally, I would like to do broadcasting. When I got to California, the mass communications major was more of an analysis of the media and how it worked, more than how to get your foot in the door to do broadcasting.

“I didn’t find it that interesting, so I switched majors to an American studies major. It was a major where you could pick classes that fall into a certain emphases. I like to say history, because the classes I took were more about the history of cultures, American and world history. That was stuff I loved to study. This brings me to my story.

“So I am in this food class and there are about 10 football players in the class of 200 students. There were two teachers teaching it, they alternated teaching. Anyways, there were breakout classes of about 30 students that you were in, where you went over your papers and got your homework assignments. Long story short, we wrote this paper, for whatever reason they didn’t like the way we cited information and everyone in my breakout class got an F on the paper. We all got to rewrite – or so I thought. When I went to rewrite it and turn it back in, I still had an F.”

“(The only other time) I got an F (was) on a science project in 4th grade that didn’t work out. I was planting these seeds and none of them grew in different soils and they asked what soil was better for what plant, and I got an F on it. Got a C in the class, my only C from kindergarten up to 10th grade, my only non-A – a little side note.

“Back to food appreciation class: I got an F on this paper because I didn’t cite correctly, I asked to rewrite it and I wasn’t able to rewrite it, they wouldn’t accept my paper. I went to ask my breakout teacher why I couldn’t rewrite it; she couldn’t give me an answer. So at Cal we started everything with the football team at 2 p.m. The office hours for one of the teachers started at 2 p.m. also, so I told one of my coaches I was going to be late, due to going down to talk to this teacher during her office hours.

“When I walked in there, she was ready for me. She basically ripped me a part saying that athletes always want things given to them, and that I wasn’t going to be able to rewrite my paper. She went on this tirade on athletes and entitlement. She basically picked on the wrong person in the class, because I was probably the best student out of the 11 football players in there. I was second team all-academic (Pac-10) at Cal if you did your research.

“The best part of the story is, she is looking at me – condescending, talking down to me – and says, ‘What do you want to do with yourself?’ I said I wanted to play in the NFL. And she laughed. She laughed at me, and in a condescending way laughed and said, ‘You will never make it. You will get hurt.’ She went on to say, ‘You will need your education and you’re not going to make it through school here.’

“I said, ‘OK. I don’t agree with any of that, but …’ I just want to tell that teacher today: Thank you, for adding to that chip on my shoulder. And I hope you’re a fan.”

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