Rodgers hopes nation unifies after election

Ryan Wood
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GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers was as bleary-eyed Wednesday as many Americans, recovering from staying up to watch the presidential election’s conclusion.

“It was late,” Rodgers said. “It was really late.”

Rodgers said he voted Tuesday. He then sat back to watch Republican candidate Donald Trump defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback did not leave any hints for whom he voted, but provided his analysis of the election's outcome.

“I knew it was going to be a historic night either way,” Rodgers said. “You have an outsider winning, or the first woman to be president. So I thought it was an important night for our country, and really a message to the establishment, if you’re looking at it from an objective point of view.

“I hope as a country we can now come together and work a little better with each other. Obviously, there were some people who were — rightfully so — worried about the direction of the country now, but I think it’s an important time for us that we come together and figure out how to work with each other.”

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Rodgers was aware enough to see how sports might aid in a divided nation’s healing process, while also keeping the context of Sunday’s trip to the Tennessee Titans in perspective.

For those upset with the election result, Rodgers said, sports can be a welcomed diversion. No, it isn’t as important as deciding the president of the United States, but he believes the NFL’s entertainment value can help return the country to life as normal.

“It doesn’t erase anything,” Rodgers said, “that (are) big events that have happened, but I think when you saw President (George W.) Bush throw out the first pitch after 9/11, I just remember that was a powerful time for our country to say, ‘Hey, we’re moving on. We’re getting past this.’ Sports can do that for you at times, but as a country you saw last night, there wasn’t a 50 percent majority winner. It’s a two-party system. There’s binary systems that are built up in this country all over the place to divide us, and I think it’s important especially in this time with our election that we learn how to work with each other.

Sports can bring people together and break down the initial barriers. Obviously, it’s on a way different scale. You’re talking about running a country compared to providing entertainment for people, but we love the opportunity to do what we do and inspire people, and hope we can all move forward together and get this thing going in the right direction.”

Elections can provide humor and entertainment, too.

Some voters dissatisfied with Trump or Clinton settled on a third-party candidate. Others got creative.

Over Twitter, Rodgers said, he read people voted for him to be president, and Packers receiver Jordy Nelson to be vice president. Another voter flipped it around, he said, voting for Nelson to run the country and Rodgers to be his backup.

Rodgers declined to answer whether he’s ever thought of running for office in the future — “I’m just trying to play football right now,” he said — but found humor in how some chose to vote.

“I just want to thank all the voters out there who did vote for me,” Rodgers said. “I know for some people it was between me and Harambe. I think I finished second in that vote.” and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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