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Aaron Rodgers says 'Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy' in wake of report he believed in conspiracy theory

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 7: Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets runs onto the field prior to the start of the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 7, 2024 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers released a statement about the Sandy Hook school shooting following a report that he believed in a conspiracy theory about the killing of 20 children and six adults in 2012. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) (Kathryn Riley via Getty Images)

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Thursday that he believes “what happened in Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy” and that he did not believe that the “events did not take place.”

Rodgers made the statement on social media a day after a report from CNN detailing two accounts from people who said they heard Rodgers tell them that the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting was a conspiracy that was staged by the government.

"As I'm on the record saying in the past, what happened in Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy," Rodgers wrote. "I am not and have never been of the opinion that the events did not take place. Again, I hope that we learn from this and other tragedies to identify the signs that will allow us to prevent unnecessary loss of life. My thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the families affected along with the entire Sandy Hook community."

One of the accounts was from the CNN reporter who co-wrote the story and another was relayed from someone else who had a similar conversation with Rodgers. In the telling of her account, the quarterback stated that the event took place, but that it took place as part of an inside government job.

From CNN:

[CNN reporter Pamela] Brown was covering the Kentucky Derby for CNN in 2013 when she was introduced to Rodgers, then with the Green Bay Packers, at a post-Derby party. Hearing that she was a journalist with CNN, Rodgers immediately began attacking the news media for covering up important stories. Rodgers brought up the tragic killing of 20 children and 6 adults by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School, claiming it was actually a government inside job and the media was intentionally ignoring it.

When Brown questioned him on the evidence to show this very real shooting was staged, Rodgers began sharing various theories that have been disproven numerous times. Such conspiracy theories were also later at the center of lawsuits brought by victims’ families when they sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the matter.

The CNN report emerged after a New York Times report that said Rodgers had been in communication with third-party presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. about being Kennedy's running mate. Kennedy is known for his anti-vaccination stances and his sharing of conspiracy theories. He has announced that he'll pick a running mate on March 26.

The conspiracy theory about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is especially harmful and dangerous. Families of the 26 victims in the 2012 shooting won judgments totaling nearly $1.5 billion against infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after Jones spoke numerous times about how the 20 children killed in the shooting were “crisis actors” and that the shooting never happened. Families of the children detailed how Jones’ supporters had harassed them because of his theories and baseless statements about the shooting.

Jones' theories are very similar to the sentiments that Rodgers reportedly shared with the reporter and other unnamed person mentioned in the story. The Dec. 14, 2012, shooting took place when a 20-year-old man went into the school and started shooting after he killed his mother and drove her car to the school.