NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers will no longer make his regular Tuesday appearances on ESPN’s The Pat McAfee Show, at least through the remainder of the season.
The decision comes in the wake of Rodgers’ controversial statements including an unfounded suggestion linking talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to Jeffrey Epstein and Rodgers’ promotion of conspiracy theories, CNN Business reported.
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Rodgers, who host McAfee paid seven figures to appear on the program, elicited backlash last week when he falsely accused Jimmy Kimmel of having ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. New court documents recently unsealed in the case name individuals previously connected to Epstein.
“Either he actually believes my name was going to be on Epstein’s list, which is insane, or the more likely scenario is he doesn’t actually believe that; he just said it because he’s mad at me for making fun of his topknot and his lies about being vaccinated,” Kimmel said during his opening monologue on Monday.
Kimmel called for Rodgers to apologize, though he was skeptical he would, and the injured New York Jets player did not, per CNN. In his next appearance on Pat McAfee, Rodgers instead went on a conspiratorial rant replete with medical misinformation and attacks on the news media and ESPN executive Mike Foss, who issued an apology for Rodgers’ earlier comments.
For most of the segment, Rodgers railed against Covid-19 vaccines — falsely claiming they’ve caused widespread injuries and death — and promoted the unproven coronavirus treatment ivermectin, The Daily Beast reported.
“I don’t understand [Foss’s] comment, because he didn’t help out either,” Rodgers said on Tuesday, per the outlet. “I’m going to quote Mike. He said, ‘Aaron made a dumb and factually incorrect joke about Jimmy Kimmel, it should never have happened, we realized that in a moment.’ Mike, you are not helping.”
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McAfee acknowledged the situation on Wednesday. “Some of [Rodgers’] thoughts and opinions do piss off a lot of people,” McAfee told CNN. “And I’m pumped that is no longer going to be every single Wednesday of my life — which it has been for the last few weeks.”
But he also said he wasn’t opposed to having Rodgers back on the program in the future.