Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has spoken repeatedly in recent days about his toe injury. On Tuesday, he specifically used the term “COVID toe” in reference to the condition.
On Wednesday, Rodgers went on the attack regarding those who dared to take him at his word — as if we haven’t already learned we should never do that. In so doing, Rodgers called out one specific reporter for spreading “disinformation” about him. The only problem? The reporter he named had no role whatsoever in taking at face value his claim from Tuesday that he has “COVID toe.”
Quick refresher. On Tuesday’s Pat McAfee show, Rodgers specifically said he has “COVID toe.” We thought it was a joke. Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal did not. During a Wednesday press conference, Rodgers verbally chastised the wrong reporter for believing him when he said, in his own words and with his own voice, that he has COVID toe.
“It’s actually called disinformation when you perpetuate false information about an individual,” an agitated and borderline unhinged Rodgers told reporters. “I have a fractured toe. So I expect a full apology from Molly Knight and whoever her editors was. I did get a kick out of reading that article. That was very, very interesting. But, no, I never heard of COVID toe before. Pat made a joke about it on the show, and I mentioned yesterday that it’s, you know, worse than a turf toe, and it must be a bone issue. I can’t believe I have to again come on the air and talk about my medical information. But, yeah, I have a fractured toe. I’ve never heard of COVID toe before. I have no lesions on my feet. That’s just a classic case of disinformation. It’s surprising coming from what used to be a reputable journalistic institution, but that’s the world we live in these days.”
The only flaw in Rodgers’s latest rant is that Molly Knight did not write the story. So, basically, Rodgers spread disinformation when whining about the disinformation being spread about him — even though he risked that someone would take him literally WHEN HE SAID that he has “COVID toe.” A day later, he’s claiming he’s never heard of COVID toe. On Tuesday, HE SAID THAT HE HAS IT. Joke or not, he was surely familiar with the term before today, given that he used the term on Tuesday.
Here’s what Molly Knight said about the situation, on Twitter: “Today I tweeted a link to a Wall Street Journal story about Aaron Rodgers, then went to a spin class and then the local homeless feed where I volunteer. Apparently Rodgers mentioned me by name in a press conference, because when I finished my work my social media feeds were full of unpleasant comments from Rodgers’ fans. I didn’t write the article Rodgers is upset about, but I guess in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal. I would like to thank Aaron for directing traffic to my Twitter feed, where I am raising money for blankets for our unhoused neighbors. It’s getting cold, and the number of people who need help in Southern California has ballooned in recent years, so every bit of awareness helps.”
At one point on Wednesday, Molly Knight asked Twitter users to “stop harassing me,” explaining that “I did not write the article.”
The apology in this case needs to come from Rodgers. To Molly Knight. And the irony is that, in his supersensitive crusade about disinformation regarding him, Rodgers spread disinformation about the person who did not write the story based on Rodgers claiming that he has COVID toe.
It’s all very weird and bizarre. We’ve learned a lot about Rodgers in recent weeks, and not much of it is very good. On Wednesday, he set up an innocent reporter for passing along an item from the Wall Street Journal that mistakenly assumed that he meant what he said about having COVID toe.
Does any of this change the fact that Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history? It does not. But it’s entirely possible to be both a great quarterback and a real jerk. Rodgers, in all candor and with all respect, lands squarely in both categories.