Zack Rosenblatt and Jeff Howe, along with Russini, claimed on Monday that Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had been “hesitant to” return to the starting lineup due to concerns about his risk of injury.
Rodgers, who is no new to causing trouble with NFL reporters and insiders, attacked Russini’s article and charged her of attempting to destroy Wilson’s reputation during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
"When you use sources to try and assassinate someone's character like that report does for Zach I have a real hard time with that..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 5, 2023
Dianna Russini elaborates on her Harassment
After Rodgers’ criticism, Russini said during her appearance on “The Dan Le Batard Show” (via Ben Axelrod of The Athletic) that she had received some terrible remarks from fans, both in person and on social media.
“My week has been trash. It’s horrendous. I live in the New York market so I’m in the vortex of it all. So I get to hear it and also hear from Jets fans when I drop my kids off at daycare. And look, when you’ve been doing this a long time and you’ve become a credible person covering the league, you hope that because of all the past stories you’ve done, you’ve built this trust with the audience and the fans. But I realized over the last few days, it’s not that they don’t believe the report is accurate. They know the report is accurate, the story is just unbelievable. I think that’s where the issue is…
“Unfortunately, it’s just my job to uncover the story and uncover the news. And when the No. 2 overall pick doesn’t want to play or is hesitant or reluctant — whatever word the Jets want us to say or are comfortable with the world knowing about at this point — that’s a story to me.”
Russini went on to say that as she was carrying out her journalistic duties, she received a horrifying death threat from an angry Jets fan.
“My week has been trash. It’s horrendous…I also get to hear it from Jets fans when I drop my kids off at daycare…they know the report is accurate, the story is just unbelievable.”
— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) December 8, 2023
No matter how one thinks about someone’s reporting, it is never acceptable to act in such a way as to cause discomfort. Among the most dependable and trustworthy reporters in the industry is Russini. She also made it clear that she was only recounting what she had heard.
However, Rodgers has no problem criticizing well-known reporters if he disagrees with their reporting. Earlier in the offseason, he declared that ESPN’s Adam Schefter should “lose” his phone number and that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport “doesn’t know (expletive) about me.”
Jets fans have had a difficult year because their team’s promising season ended abruptly when Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon in Week 1. The Jets need to win to have a remote chance of making the postseason at 4-8.