The Green Bay Packers quarterback, who refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and recently returned to play after becoming infected with it, had appeared to suggest in interview with radio host Pat McAfee on Tuesday that his injury was Covid-related.
But in a press conference on Wednesday, he said that comment had been a joke and that the real cause was an ordinary fracture, holding up his foot to show reporters that it was seemingly free of lesions.
“Covid toe” is a colloquial name for chilblains or inflammations on the toes, sometimes suffered as collateral damage from the immune system’s battle with coronavirus.
“Oh! Oh, there’s no lesions whatsoever! Oh, what a surprise!” said the 37-year-old sarcastically as he bared his sole for the cameras. “No, that’s actually called disinformation, when you perpetuate false information about individuals.
“I have a fractured toe … no, I’d never heard of Covid toe before. Pat made a joke about it on the show, and I mentioned yesterday that it’s worse than a ‘turf toe’, and it must be a bone issue.
“I can’t believe I have to come on here 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.”
Mr Rodgers’ ailment forced him to leave the pitch during Sunday’s match against the Minnesota Vikings, having recently returned from 10 days out of play due to a positive Covid test.
News of his results in early November caused a furore because Mr Rodgers was subject to the safety protocol for unvaccinated players despite having claimed in August that he was “immunised”.
The quarterback reacted by ranting against “cancel culture” and the “woke mob”, declaring that he was not an “anti-vax flat earther” but a “critical thinker” and quoting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
On 9 November, however, he admitted that he had “misled some people about [his] status”, and was fined $14,650 (£10,991) by the National Football League (NFL) for attending a Halloween party while unvaccinated in violation of the league’s rules. The Packers
In his Wednesday interview, Mr Rodgers said he “expect[s] a full apology” from Molly Knight, an American journalist, and “whoever her editors were”. Yet Ms Knight had only tweeted a link to the Wall Street Journal’s report about his comments, and appeared to have had no role in the story.
Afterwards, Ms Knight said that Mr Rodgers’ fans had harassed her on social media and asked them to stop. “I have no idea why Aaron Rodgers said my name in a press conference,” she tweeted on Wednesday. “This is so surreal. Please stop harassing me. I did not write the article.”