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Saturday Sports: Braves win World Series; Aaron Rodgers outed as unvaccinated

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now what a beautiful setup for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Aaron Rodgers tests positive for COVID and reveals he didn't get vaccinated and misled people - also, no almost for Atlanta this time. Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: I'm fine, thanks.

BRYANT: Of course you are.

SIMON: But I have had any contact with Aaron Rodgers.

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player said in August he was immunized against COVID. Then a couple of days after testing positive, he said reporters should have followed up with clarifying questions. Clarifying is, I think, what face creams do. Look, did he mislead the public, his own teammates, people who tackled him, people on "Jeopardy!"?

BRYANT: People on "Jeopardy!" - talk about double jeopardy. This guy, Aaron Rodgers, absolutely misled the public. He lied to the public. It's really not that complicated. It's one of these celebrity dodges, where they think they can say whatever they want to say and then recalibrate it and have everyone believe it. He was asked a very specific question - are you vaccinated? Now, should the follow-up question have been, and if so, which dose did you get...

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: ...Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson?

SIMON: Yeah, which arm?

BRYANT: OK.

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: And then he said, I am immunized. And so let the record show that if somebody asks you a yes or no question, and you don't answer it with a yes or no, you're a suspect. And so Aaron Rodgers, of course, he misled people. And he knows exactly what he did. And it's once - again, this is one of the things - we've been talking about this for almost two years now. This is one of the stories in sports, in American culture, where sports has always sort of been the leader. Sports has really not covered itself in any glory during this pandemic. And the people who have been playing this sport and running these sports really have been almost as obstructionist as any of the major - you know, the sort of major institutions that people look to as we move forward for normalcy.

SIMON: Let's talk about the World Series. Atlanta is known for sports teams who almost get there.

BRYANT: (Laughter) Who almost get there, who collapse spectacularly.

SIMON: No almost - the Braves won the World Series 4 games to 2 over the Astros. What caught your eye in this series?

BRYANT: Oh, a couple things - it was a remarkable, remarkable run for the Braves. I think the biggest thing to remember about Atlanta is that here's a team that could have easily just said, oh, we'll go get them next year. They lose Soroka. They lose one of the best players in the game. And Ronald Acuna Jr., he gets hurt. So what did the Braves do? What does the organization do? They go out at the trade deadline - they're under 500 - and they go out, and they go get players. They get Rosario. They go - they do things to tell their fan base they're still in it. They went 88 games, which is not a huge number. But if you look...

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: ...At their team throughout the second half of the season, they were terrific. They stuck with it. You keep playing. And when you listen to people say, oh, well, we can't win, you have an organization that really tried to win. I'm really happy for Brian Snitker. Freddie Freeman's going to break the bank. He's going to be a free agent.

SIMON: Yup.

BRYANT: Snitker is one of those old-school baseball lifers who took forever to get a shot. Now he's a World Series champion - ditto for Ron Washington. Remember, Wash was the manager of the...

SIMON: Yup.

BRYANT: ...Texas Rangers. And they were - they had a two-run lead with two outs and two strikes not once, but twice, and didn't win the World Series in 2011 - huge victory for them - also sad for Dusty Baker...

SIMON: Yup.

BRYANT: ...In the Houston side - this close to winning a championship for the first time as a manager, but not quite - but once again, remarkable postseason - all credit to Atlanta - did exactly what you do when you - we watch sports, which is to have the organization give your fans a chance to have some joy. And they did.

SIMON: Yeah. Howard Bryant, thanks so much. Talk to you soon.

BRYANT: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MELODIUM'S "ALTATUNE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.