Mina Kimes on Aaron Rodgers Credit: The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

As one of the only sports writers to profile Aaron Rodgers, NFL analyst Mina Kimes is careful to state she does not have Rodgers all figured out. But she has spent a lot of time thinking about who he is.

As Rodgers responded to the firestorm he created when he accused ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel of connections to child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Kimes was struck by the lack of originality. And when Rodgers returned once again to his favorite topics of big pharma and the pandemic, Kimes saw the angles coming.

“It really drove home what is the meaningful thing about this story that transcends sports,” Kimes said on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Thursday. “Which is the normalization of conspiracy theories. And I say that not to criticize Rodgers’ character or whatever, but really just to kind of criticize the substance of what he was saying, criticize the sources he was throwing out.”

Kimes pointed to Rodgers’ constant references to Alex Berenson, who was a reporter from the New York Times until 2010 and became one of the most public vaccine detractors in the media during the COVID-19 pandemic. Berenson was banned from Twitter in 2021 and had a Fox News streaming show called COVID Contrarian canceled before it ever debuted in 2020.

“You could ask any credible scientist, doctor, public health expert, and they would refute (Berenson),” Kimes said. “But when I was listening to Rodgers (on The Pat McAfee Show) and he said his name, I wasn’t surprised to hear it. Because the people who believe the things that I think Rodgers now believes, they always cite the same people.

“It really is groupthink kind of masquerading as independent thought. And it’s not just on the fringes of society, I think evidenced by the fact that one of our most famous athletes is now believing some of these things.”

Kimes added that she has loved ones who have “gone down similar rabbit holes.” She believes many people in the world today are “tempted by the idea that they know something that the rest of us don’t.”

Like Rodgers, many people emboldened by going against public consensus aren’t very open to discussion or hearing that they might be wrong.

“The fact that that’s not just on the fringes is worth noting, and it’s worth always checking those points when they’re made,” Kimes argued. “And not just laughing them off the way we so often do, because … of this ongoing devaluation of facts and expertise.”

Kimes previously said Rodgers simply spent too much time online. But this week, she wanted to express that there was more to it than that, and that being inaccurate and confrontational should have consequences.

[The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.