Why Aaron Rodgers’ Brian Gutekunst/Jerry Krause comparison is bad news for the Packers

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The schism between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, which has been going on for years, but really started gaining steam when the team traded up to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft and didn’t tell Rodgers about it beforehand, is getting ugly. In his recent column detailing Green Bay’s 2021 draft class, Bob McGinn of The Athletic dropped a note about Rodgers mocking general manager Brian Gutekunst by mockingly referring to him as “Jerry Krause” in group texts with his Packers teammates. Tyler Dunne of the Go Long newsletter and podcast, and someone who’s pretty connected on the Rodgers side, confirmed McGinn’s report.

The late Krause was the Chicago Bulls’ general manager from 1985 through 2003, and was a primary reason the Bulls were able to win six NBA championships. Krause was a brilliant personnel executive, but he never quite jelled with Michael Jordan, who hated some of the moves Krause made, and Krause was never able to gain the respect of the locker room.

Jerry Krause, left, general manager of the Chicago Bulls, is shown with Bulls legend Michael Jordan in this Sept. 20, 1988 photo after Jordan agreed to an eight-year contract extension. Krause, who built a team around Jordan that won six national titles, resigned Monday, April 7, 2003, citing health problems. (AP Photo/Mark Elias)

David Halberstam, who wrote brilliantly during his life about multiple sports and multiple other subjects, penned a great book about Jordan, published in 1999, entitled “Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made.” In that book, Halberstam detailed how Krause tended to over-amplify the personnel decisions he made, perhaps as an inevitable offshoot of the fact that he had to work so hard and come up so far to do what he did. And Jordan, the ultimate alpha, who did not see Krause as an alpha, would needle Krause ceaselessly when Jordan had the weight in the organization to not only get away with it, but to have Krause play along and pretend to enjoy the back-and-forth.

“What bothered some of the coaches was the fact that in the beginning, Krause seemed to enjoy this byplay, as if it finally made him one of the boys,” Halberstam wrote. “Part of the Jordan/Krause problem, however, had roots in something as old as the school yard, where some boys are popular, and some seem to be born to be targets. Jordan, gifted, talented, the best at whatever it was he chose to do, was the alpha personality, and he saw in Krause — short, unattractive, desperate to be one of the boys but lacking any of the requisite qualities — the omega personality, the person doomed to be on the outside of any group.”

This example isn’t made to specifically attribute any of Krause’s positive or negative characteristics to Gutekunst, but when the most important player on your team — the alpha — is texting stuff to his teammates comparing the general manager to an omega, it’s one more indication that the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers may be beyond repair.