Want the aftermath of Aaron Rodgers' devastating clavicle injury hanging on your wall? Too late!
"Anthony Barr #55 Tough Break Aaron," reads the nameplate affixed to the $129.99 souvenir, which features Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr celebrating moments after he shattered Rodgers' collarbone last October. The (technically) legal hit sidelined the Packers quarterback for eight weeks.
What sort of customers wanted to cheekily memorialize the grisly, catalytic play? We asked Ryan Marshall, owner of AME Sports. He says he sold "probably 30" of the Rodgers-Barr photos.
"[The buyers] thought it was the funniest thing ever," says Marshall, who began stocking the product last fall. "They were either gonna buy it for a Packer fan, or just hang it on their wall to show all their Packer fan friends."
The loss of Rodgers sent Green Bay into a 7-9 tailspin. The Vikings capitalized on the cleared NFC North runway, eventually soaring to 13-3 on their way to the NFC Championship game.
"It was deemed a legal hit, and you know that you don't have the same protection outside the pocket," Rodgers told reporters in November. "A simple shove-down probably would have sufficed in that situation, but it is what it is."
Barr -- who received loads of disturbing hate mail from Packer fans -- insisted throughout the season his hit was clean.
“By no means was I trying to injure or take out Aaron Rodgers,” he said in October. "He’s one of, if not the best, player in this league. I’m not a dirty player. We don’t preach that around here.”
Setting aside your purple passion, imagine a similar photo celebrating Joe Theismann's collapsing leg. Willis McGahee's inverting knee. Ryan Shazier's snapping spine. The moral gymnastics required of football fans -- made much worse by our increased understanding of the horrors of CTE -- are unsettlingly implicit. Opting to showcase the game's dark side with this Rodgers-Barr artifact? Downright ghoulish.
That's partly why Marshall is unsure whether he'll restock the photo. Once the item hit shelves, his shop received more than a dozen angry messages and phone calls from Packer fans.
"It’s not as enjoyable as I thought it’d be," Marshall says, "[but] it goes with the business."
On a lighter Vikings-Packers rivalry note, let's all revisit Randy Moss' infamous 2005 mooning incident at Lambeau Field. Only two things were severely injured that night: The feelings of Packer fans, plus Joe Buck's core belief in human decency.
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