Aaron Rodgers at Cleven Browns Stadium in December 2023

There’s a Double Standard Being Applied to Conspiracy-Touting Aaron Rodgers in the NFL

Aaron Rodgers has once again begun spreading harmful conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, it’s hard not to see the double standard being applied to Rodgers as the NFL fails to take action despite his problematic behavior.

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Rodgers currently serves as quarterback for the New York Jets. He joined the team in 2023 after previously playing for the Green Bay Packers. While he has received multiple awards and honors for his performance in the NFL, he has recently garnered attention for going down various right-wing conspiracy theory rabbit holes. In 2022, former Packers quarterback DeShone Kizer revealed that Rodgers had conversed with him about various conspiracy theories. It seemed Rodgers was pretty deep in conspiracy theories commonly borrowed by and incorporated into QAnon, as he once questioned if Kizer “believes in 9/11” and urged him to “read up” on the theories. Kizer also claimed Rodgers believed in theories regarding Inner Earth, the Moon landing, and reptile people.

Recently, he has been accused of harboring even more harmful conspiracy theories and has also started going public with them. Rodgers recently appeared on a podcast hosted by QAnon promoter Eddie Bravo, where he revealed his belief in the Tartarian architecture conspiracy theory, which has been labeled the “QAnon of architecture.” He also publicly claimed Jimmy Kimmel was an associate of Jeffrey Epstein, which the talk show host responded to with threats of suing for defamation. Since then, he has gone on to promote conspiracies around Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Aaron Rodgers’ conspiracy theories grow more unhinged

Last month, CNN reporter Pamela Brown claimed that Rodgers had shared Sandy Hook conspiracy theories with her and other individuals. Since the horrific 2012 mass shooting, many right-wing extremists, including Alex Jones, have promoted false conspiracy theories that the event never occurred or was an inside job from the U.S. government. The conspiracy theories are especially dangerous and disgusting as they have led to the bereaved families being targeted, harassed, and threatened by unhinged theorists.

Hence, outrage arose over Brown’s claims that Rodgers had conversed with her about his theories that the shooting was not real and the victims were actors. Rodgers responded by stating that he is not, and never has been, “of the opinion that the events did not take place.” However, many noticed that the vague statement didn’t address whether he thought Sandy Hook was an inside job. Meanwhile, since it’s a “he said, she said” situation, his statement doesn’t disprove Brown’s allegations.

On April 17, Rodgers’ statements on the Look Into It With Eddie Bravo podcast from March resurfaced, in which he expressed a bizarre HIV conspiracy theory. He claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci, former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, and those around him manufactured the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the 1980s and used it as a “blueprint” for the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Rodgers also insinuated the U.S. government was in on the engineering of HIV, which has claimed over 700,000 lives, and criticized the AZT drug despite it saving millions.

There is absolutely no evidence to back up Rodgers’ wild theories, and they can feed into anti-vaccination ideology, as well as raise unnecessary mass hysteria and mistrust. The fact that he has now publicly shared numerous unhinged theories also adds greater weight to Brown’s claims of his Sandy Hook statements.

Will the NFL take action?

Given that the NFL has ignored Rodgers’ Sandy Hook controversy, as well as all of his other theories, it seems likely nothing will come of his most recent outlandish claims. Meanwhile, it’s impossible not to see the double standard applied here. After all, many still remember the outcry when Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem in a peaceful protest against racism and police brutality. It was a non-threatening and, non-harmful action meant to inspire change and equality in the country.

However, it led to a barrage of hatred and racism from conservatives, who slandered him, called him disrespectful, told him to leave America, and set his jerseys on fire. After the season during which he knelt, he became a free agent, but no one would sign him. To this day, he remains unsigned, with accusations arising that the NFL won’t sign him for political reasons and possibly even blacklisted him to end his career over his peaceful protest.

It’s a stark contrast to the situation with Rodgers, who has been growing increasingly unhinged while publicly touting harmful conspiracies. He has gone as far as to accuse the U.S. government of manufacturing epidemics and killing hundreds of thousands of Americans, as well as possibly adding to the pain of Sandy Hook parents who have been vilified by right-wing conspiracy theorists like him. Yet, the outrage is less than a fraction of the outrage against Kaepernick, and there’s no indication of plans to drive him out of the NFL. In fact, on X, Kaepernick is trending instead of Rodgers, as the few acknowledgments of a double standard reignited racist conservative backlash against the former, in an effort to drown out any discussion of the latter.

Many will try to say the two incidents have nothing to do with each other. However, it’s concerning that few can answer why kneeling for the National Anthem got Kaepernick booted from the NFL while Rodgers’ increasingly unhinged statements got no response. Why is the crowd that thinks Kaepernick’s call for the country to take action against racism is “anti-American” not bothered by Rodgers accusing the government of killing HIV patients and American citizens? Where is the outrage and backlash for Rodgers disrespecting this country? Where’s the backlisting and inability to find a place in the NFL? One can only imagine the response and swift action if Kaepernick made the kind of false accusations that Rodgers publicly has.

Time and time again, it’s impossible to ignore how the actions of men like Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Travis Kelce get defended or pushed under the rug, while much lesser actions from anyone who isn’t a white, cisgender man can be career-ending.

(featured image: Nick Cammett/Getty)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.