01:40 - Source: CNN
'Insane': Charles Barkley reacts to Aaron Rodgers' reported Sandy Hook claims
CNN  — 

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers responded on Thursday to CNN reporting that he shared in private conversations false conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

While Rodgers did not deny the content of those conversations, he said in a social media post that he has “never been of the opinion that the events did not take place.”

“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 X. “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.”

CNN reported on Wednesday that Rodgers, who is among the people on independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy’s shortlist to be the vice presidential pick, engaged in conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in conversations with two people, including CNN’s Pamela Brown. According to Brown’s recollection of her conversation with Rodgers in May 2013, Rodgers falsely claimed the shooting was a government inside job that the media was intentionally ignoring.

Another source, to whom CNN has granted anonymity so as to avoid harassment, recalled that several years ago, Rodgers claimed Sandy Hook “never happened” and that the children were “actors.”

“Sandy Hook never happened … All those children never existed. They were all actors.”

Rodgers initially declined to comment to CNN through one of his agents before posting on social media Thursday.

A gunman in December of 2012 opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults.

In an interview shortly after the shooting, Rodgers said he hoped changes could be made to “not ever have something like this happen.”

“I hope that we can learn from this and look for the signs more and not ever have something like this happen. And keep this on our minds. This is something that affects us directly or indirectly. This needs to be something that we learn from,” he said of the shooting in an interview with ESPN Radio Milwaukee in 2012.

In a statement to CNN on Thursday, Kennedy campaign spokesperson Stefanie Spear called the Sandy Hook shooting “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,” Spear said in a statement.

Kennedy, in an interview on Fox News Wednesday night, praised Rodgers as a “critical thinker” and stressed the need for a running mate who’s going to “maintain a constant posture of skepticism toward authority.” Kennedy was not asked about the report during the interview and did not address Rodgers’ past comments about the shooting directly.

CNN’s Pamela Brown and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.