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Pat McAfee faced scrutiny from the media for not pushing back on various claims Aaron Rodgers made about the science of COVID-19 on Friday.
The former NFL punter and titular host of “The Pat McAfee Show” joked that he’s “incredibly humbled and honored” that journalists thought highly enough of him that he would have been able to rebut Rodgers point-by-point if he tried.
“I do apologize for potentially not hammering the science and stats like I should have, I guess a lot of people were saying,” McAfee said on Monday’s show. “But also, there’s no way you were thinking that’s what I was going to do. There’s no way anybody had that expectation. I appreciate and respect everybody afterwards thinking that that’s what I can do, and for that I am humbled.”
In the interview, Rodgers ripped woke cancel culture, claimed he’s allergic to an ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, made various claims disputed by the CDC, touted homeopathic medicine and said he’d been taking advice from his new close friend Joe Rogan.
“I am incredibly humbled that you can look at that screen and see what I do … and if you immediately thought, ‘This guy knows the ins and outs of the COVID situation — he’s the only one … he should be putting Aaron’s feet to the fire,’” McAfee said. “If you thought that, I am incredibly humbled, honored, and I promise that at some point in my life I will try to become that person.”
I am incredibly humbled & honored that everybody thought I was gonna be the guy to put @AaronRodgers12's feet to the fire#PMSOverreactionMonday #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/7q7JfaD2pO
McAfee and his crew joked that he put his glasses on before the Rodgers interview to look smart, but that they made him look “too smart.”
Anybody expecting McAfee to push back on Rodgers was inevitably going to be sorely disappointed. Star athletes gravitate toward platforms where they can deliver their message in the way that they wish. Rodgers’ weekly spot on “The Pat McAfee Show” is arguably the most valuable national weekly sports radio or TV hit in the country. It always drives a news cycle. Rodgers goes there because he feels comfortable in his ability to be unfiltered. McAfee, as a businessperson, is not apt to jeopardize that — nor, as he points out, did he feel particularly qualified to.
As The Post’s Andrew Marchand argued in his Post Sports+ newsletter on Monday, McAfee allowing Rodgers to speak uninterrupted for about 15 minutes straight enabled the quarterback to reveal all of his sincere, underlying beliefs. This strategy made it so the media and public could do a full dissection on all the finer points of Rodgers’ diatribe, and there was no shortage of vicious critique.