1. Let me be clear right out of the gate here: I don’t care whether Aaron Rodgers does legal drugs, illegal drugs or anything in between. It has no bearing on my life.
Having said that, I found Rodgers’s admission on a podcast this week that ayahuasca has changed his life on and off the field fascinating for one reason: How will this play out on NFL telecasts this season?
According to the Packers quarterback, psychedelic drugs paved the way for him to have the “best season of my career.” He also said he didn’t think it was a coincidence that he won back-to-back MVP awards after experimenting with the psychoactive brew.
So, with Rodgers now making this a story, what are the networks that air NFL games supposed to do during Packers games?
Do you think Roger Goodell wants Mike Tirico discussing ayahuasca in front of 20 million viewers in Week 2 when the Packers play the Bears on Sunday Night Football?
If Rodgers is balling out in Week 1 against the Vikings, should we expect a sideline report from Fox’s Erin Andrews about Rodgers’s drug use that week?
Do you think the NFL wants Jim Nantz to explain what DMT is in Week 4 when CBS airs Packers-Patriots? (Although that would be amazing.)
Do you think ESPN wants Joe Buck breaking down psychedelic drugs during Monday Night Football in Week 15, when the Packers play the Rams? (Although that would be amazing, too.)
Aaron Rodgers is one of the top three or four quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s crediting a psychedelic drug with helping him win MVP awards and play the best ball of his career. Can NFL telecasts just completely ignore this story? The networks will take their cue from the league office, so they probably will, but what if Rodgers cites ayahuasca during his production meetings with the crews for each network? Are the broadcasters just supposed to ignore that and not mention it during game telecasts?
The reality is that Rodgers has made this a football story by saying ayahuasca helped him improve his performance on the field. And he clearly has strong feelings about the benefits of psychedelic drugs. Whatever your personal feelings are, though, about the drug, it IS illegal under federal law in the United States.
That puts the NFL and its broadcast partners in quite a pickle this season.
But at this point, all we can do is just hope we get an ayahuasca breakdown from Al Michaels in Week 11 when the Packers play on Amazon Prime.
“Do you believe in hallucinations? YES! Aaron Rodgers does!”
Scroll to Continue
2. This week’s SI Media Podcast, which came out early today, is a milestone episode. It is episode No. 400. In the opening segment, I discuss the history of the podcast, reminisce about taking over as host from Richard Deitsch and give out well-deserved thanks to a few people. I also read the latest Apple reviews with Sal Licata, from WFAN and SNY in New York, who joins me each week on the podcast.
In addition, chief TV critic for Rolling Stone Alan Sepinwall joins the podcast to talk about summer TV shows you should watch. Shows discussed include The Bear, The Rehearsal, What We Do in the Shadows, Hacks, Succession, Winning Time and much more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
3. In a surprise piece of casting, ESPN has hired Peloton instructor Jess Sims as a reporter for College GameDay.
4. Speaking of ESPN, the network announced some outstanding news today: It is currently working on an upcoming 30 for 30 on Bill Walton.
5. Raiders wideout Davante Adams, who’s set to make $141 million over five years, was not happy that teammate Hunter Renfrow, who just signed a $32 million, two-year extension, went cheap when ordering an Uber for them yesterday.
6. I'm a Seinfeld guy before bed. Bucs wideout Mike Evans goes for something slightly different.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: With all due respect to Aaron Rodgers, this will always be the greatest celebrity story about ayahuasca.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.