ESPN acknowledges Aaron Rodgers's "dumb and factually inaccurate joke" about Jimmy Kimmel

The first late-Friday bad-news dump of 2024 has packed a wallop.

ESPN, after staying mum for three days, has issued a statement regarding the comments made on Tuesday's edition of The Pat McAfee Show by Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers strongly implied that ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel's name appears on the list of associates and/or clients of Jeffrey Epstein.

ESPN senior V.P. of digital and studio production Mike Foss issued the statement to

“Aaron made a dumb and factually inaccurate joke about Jimmy Kimmel,” Foss said. “The show will continue to evolve. It wouldn’t surprise me if Aaron’s role evolves with it.”

It wouldn't surprise others if Rodgers's role eventually disappears. Much of that will depend on how he handles this one.

McAfee apologized for his show's role in the brouhaha on Wednesday, while also downplaying the situation as "shit talk." Will Rodgers apologize personally next Tuesday? Or will he decry "cancel culture" and complain about people not being able to take a joke or suggest that the aliens at the Miami Mall were just a way to distract everyone from the Epstein list?

The damage already has been done to the relationship between McAfee's show and ESPN. Rodgers, quite frankly, might end up delivering the death blow if he handles the situation in the same way he has handled similar situations in the past — by painting himself as the victim and characterizing his critics as the "woke mob."