Are Professional Athletes Required to Sign Autographs for Fans?

By Gregg Henson, 105.3 The Fan
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Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons

(Dallas, TX) 105.3 The Fan – There is a really strong debate raging over Aaron Rodgers’s decision to not sign an autograph for a cancer survivor at the airport in Green Bay following the Packers win over Atlanta last weekend.  A local television station caught the slight and posted the video on their website prompting angry fans on both sides of the issue to weigh in on the question.  The station removed the video, but the debate rages on, are professional athletes required to sign autographs, especially for those who are intimately involved in one of the NFL’s flagship initiatives, breast cancer awareness?

Click here to see a video of the reported snub

This is Rogers response on a national radio show today.

“Well Jen is a great fan and we have an incredible fan base that travels well and would like to thank all the fans that showed up in Atlanta. We had a ton of fans at the airport and a ton of fans that came back. I’ve met Jen on previous occasions, I’ve signed for her, and as the video shows on this trip I didn’t see her and I didn’t sign for her. This kinda has turned into something I didn’t really expect but I think the people of Green Bay know how I feel about them and how much I appreciate their support. This turned into something I didn’t really expect.”

I personally don’t care for autograph collecting, the people collecting often are only hoarding the autographs to make a buck on E-bay.  I’m all for athletes signing autographs for kids, but they should also try, in most instances to sign an autograph when asked by a fan.  Signing autographs, while annoying, is the price you pay for fame in a high-profile position.  I have seen many instances where players sign for hours only to anger somebody who was next in line to get the coveted signature.  They simply can’t please every fan all the time, however, these guys love the adoration from the fans.  They simply cannot choose to only participate in the positive aspects fame, there are downsides too.  Most high-profile athletes do a great job of connecting with the fan, there are a few who could step up their game and give a little back to those who adore them unconditionally.

The Editor of Pro Football Talk issued an apology today for his role in the Aaron Rodger story, but it still begs the question, what does an athlete owe to his fans?

Click here to read the Pro Football Talk apology for blowing the incident up without 100% of the facts.

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