Aaron Rodgers Denies Pushing Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories, Calls the Massacre an 'Absolute Tragedy'

The Jets quarterback, and potential VP pick for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was alleged by CNN to have shared "deranged" conspiracy theories in private conversations

<p>Chance Yeh/WireImage</p> Aaron Rodgers at the Magic Room at the LVMH Tower on October 30, 2023 in New York City

Chance Yeh/WireImage

Aaron Rodgers at the Magic Room at the LVMH Tower on October 30, 2023 in New York City

Aaron Rodgers has issued a response following a new report that alleges he pushed "deranged" conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting.

Shortly after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. revealed that he was considering the New York Jets quarterback as his running mate in the 2024 presidential election, CNN published a report that alleged the 40-year-old athlete had previously claimed that the massacre was a government inside job.

The report cited both a CNN reporter who conversed with Rodgers at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, and an anonymous source who claimed that Rodgers once said the children who were killed were "actors" and "never existed." The December 2012 shooting marked the first mass shooting at an elementary school in the U.S., when a gunman killed 20 first graders and 6 educators.

On X (formerly Twitter) Thursday, Rodgers shared a statement denying the report and calling the massacre "an absolute tragedy."

<p>Elsa/Getty</p> Aaron Rodgers appears at a September 2023 game at MetLife Stadium


Aaron Rodgers appears at a September 2023 game at MetLife Stadium

Related: Robert Kennedy Jr. Names Aaron Rodgers, Jesse Ventura as Potential VP Running Mates

"As I’m on the record saying in the past, what happened in Sandy Hook was an absolute tragedy. I am not and have never been of the opinion that the events did not take place," Rodgers wrote on the platform.

"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."

In the CNN report, journalist Pamela Brown alleged that Rodgers attacked the media when he was introduced to her at a Derby party in 2013, before calling Sandy Hook an inside job and claiming that the media was intentionally ignoring it. He allegedly used disproven theories to back up his claims. A source who was granted anonymity also claimed that Rodgers said parents who lost children were "making it up," per CNN.

Related: Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $1B to Sandy Hook Families Despite Bankruptcy Filing

Previously, InfoWars host Alex Jones, who claimed that the shooting was a hoax, was ordered by a jury in Connecticut in 2022 to pay $965 million to eight families who lost loved ones in the shooting. Last October, U.S. District Judge Christopher Lopez of Houston ruled that he must pay the families what they were owed (then $1.1 billion) despite his petition for bankruptcy protection, per ABC News.

As for Rodgers, Kennedy (running as an Independent candidate) named him as a potential VP candidate pick in an interview with The New York Times, in which he also mentioned former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. A representative for Rodgers didn't respond to PEOPLE's request for comment at the time.

A Kennedy campaign spokesperson told CNN this week that Kennedy believes the Sandy Hook shooting was a “horrific tragedy.”

“Mr. Kennedy believes the Sandy Hook shooting was a horrific tragedy. The 20 children and 6 adults that died December 14, 2012 brought the entire country together in grief. Let us honor their memory,” Kennedy spokesperson Stefanie Spear told the outlet.

The politician claimed at the time of his Times interview that he had been “pretty continuously” communicating with Rodgers over the span of a month. Rodgers previously endorsed Kennedy in 2023, and most recently shared Kennedy's response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address to X.

The Democratic National Committee shared a statement about Kennedy's running mate announcement on Tuesday, calling it the "Three Stooges reunion no one was asking for."

Kennedy is running for the presidency against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

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