Diana Russini Responds to Aaron Rodgers Criticism Over ‘Wish List’ Report


Aaron Rodgers told Pat McAfee and nearly half a million concurrent viewers that he intends to play football for the New York Jets. That was only one small part of a lengthy Wednesday appearance that veered into media criticism like everyone was hanging out in The Big Lead's Slack channel.

The spiciest moment came when Rodgers revealed that he told Adam Schefter to lose his number, a report quickly verified by ESPN's top NFL newsbreaker. Schefter's colleague Dianna Russini was also name-checked.

It's cool that that Rodgers doesn't want to speak with reporters. It's not cool that he chooses to do that and then rip pieces from anonymous sources. It's a classic have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situation that falls apart when you realize many people have actively been trying to factor his side of the story into their reporting.

McAfee's entry point into this was to ask about a list of demands the quarterback sent to the Jets. Which is something Russini never reported. She said it was a wish list. A wish list and a list of demands are two different documents. One your kid gives you before Christmas and the other is made by an increasingly frazzled Al Pacino or someone who has cut a bunch of letters out of magazines.

Minutes after this exchange, Russini spoke about her report on SportsCenter, clearing things up a bit after they had been muddled.

All of this is very normal. Tom Brady did it. Other quarterbacks who have built up the leverage to do it have also tested the market to sweeten their landing spot.

In the interest of remaining upbeat and positive, let's assume the best of everyone involved in this ... controversy. Russini seems to have reported something that is broadly accurate with proper language. McAfee tried to ask a pointed question while live on-air. Rodgers responded to the idea that he was holding an organization hostage. One can see where everyone was simply trying their best and this, like the reporting Rodgers bemoaned during his spot, is an example of the games of telephones beneath every news item.

We can all go about our day.

But the question is this. Shouldn't it matter that Russini never painted these as demands? A cursory look at how the tweet in question was handled yesterday doesn't yield many actual reporters saying anything akin to demands. Random eggs, fans, and messy people who just live for drama may have used that framing, yet that doesn't really seem like something that needs to be fact-checked because they didn't have any of the primary facts anyway.

It's been a full day of Rodgers content and it's barely even lunch time at his Californian cone of trust.