Erin Andrews heard all the reaction over hugging Aaron Rodgers a couple weeks ago, and thought it was stupid.
The Fox Sports sideline reporter discussed the matter on her podcast with Charissa Thompson, “Calm Down with Erin and Charissa,” this week. She felt that the reaction was a combination of the commentariat picking on her for being a woman, combined with Rodgers being a lightning rod.
“I pretty much have hugged Rodgers since I started covering the NFL. He’s been a good friend of mine for the last 15 years,” Andrews said. “It was so funny because the people close to me in my life like my family or other quarterbacks I know or other players are like ‘Why is this a big deal?’
“I loved Pat McAfee for joking around with him, and being like, ‘You two gotta stop hugging.’ And I loved when Aaron kinda said she’s my friend. It’s also like him mentioning that he hugs other guys, opposing players and I was like ‘yeah! I’m looked at like one of the guys!’”
Andrews went on to explain that she has hugged a number of star players, and it’s never otherwise turned into a thing.
“Sunday, I hadn’t seen Odell [Beckham Jr.] and he ran over by me and he looked so happy and I just said, ‘God I miss that smile,’ and he was like good to see you and gave me a hug. I gave Von Miller a hug because he did ‘Dancing With the Stars,’” she said.
“A lot of people forget, we’re with these guys 18 weeks out of the year. We see them all the time, we’re with them during the highs and lows of their career. I’m grateful for the access they’ve given me. I’ve got to tell you, for the first time, whether you want to call Rodgers a lightning rod for his stance on COVID, I don’t want to get into that — what I’m getting involved in is sports. I was pumped he broke [Brett Favre’s Packers touchdown pass] record.“
Andrews concluded that it must be a “chick thing” because two males hugging never gets brought up as an issue.
“For the first time in my career I kind of thought, this was like a chick thing,” Andrews said. “They’re going after it because I’m a female. Now, maybe I have it wronged they’re just going after it because Aaron is a lightning rod right now but I will say this, no one has said anything when Greg Olsen and [George] Kittle tackled and hugged each other.
“In fact it’s an NFL meme — in fact they used it in the middle of the game because it was a cool moment.
“I’ve watched ‘Monday Night Football’ with [Randy] Moss hugging the guy and I never get that way because I’m grateful for my job and employers but for the first time I was like ‘Is this a chick thing? If I was a guy and gave him a hug would anybody have cared?’ I wanted to right it so bad. I gave [Matt] Stafford a hug and I’m friends with him and his wife and no one said anything. Maybe because Aaron is a lightning rod. So stupid. Slow news day.”
Eventually, Andrews got to what was probably a bigger factor in the broader reaction than something resembling middle school teasing: she had just finished the COVID theater of giving a socially distanced interview with Rodgers before the hug, breaching the social distance that had been broadcast on television.
“And I know that there’s the other argument where we’re doing the interview six feet apart, because of the COVID protocol,” Andrews said. “It is what it is. I understand that. I’ll do whatever the NFL needs me to do.”
What Andrews touched upon here is accurate: She is not responsible for the interview having been conducted at a social distance. That is a decision made by the NFL and Fox. Any reaction about how that was silly should be directed up the ladder as opposed to at the sideline reporter.