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Pat McAfee claims notable ESPN executive is 'sabotaging' his show

Pat McAfee claims notable ESPN executive is ‘sabotaging’ his show

Tooba Shakir 4 months ago 0 1

Pat McAfee is now in the business of making headlines, post-NFL career.

He’s become one of the most prominent names in all of sports media and has become Aaron Rodgers‘ go-to guy.

That’s landed both the New York Jets quarterback and McAfee in some hot water recently (more on that later), but one thing is clear — while McAfee has developed a cult following, plenty also hate him.

The former NFL punter sports analyst has even made note that he isn’t sure of his future on ESPN’s “College GameDay” because of the naysayers he has.

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Pat McAfee at the Cotton Bowl

ESPN analyst Pat McAfee reacts prior to a game between the Missouri Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 29, 2023.

But one of those naysayers, McAfee believes, is somebody at ESPN, which simulcasts his show.

McAfee said that someone rather important at the network is trying to “sabotage” him and the show, name-dropping executive senior vice president of studio and event production Norby Williamson.

“There are folks actively trying to sabotage us from within ESPN. More specifically, I believe Norby Williamson is the guy attempting to sabotage our program. I’m not 100% sure — that is just seemingly the only human that has information, and then somehow that information gets leaked and it’s wrong, and then it sets a narrative of what our show is,” McAfee said on Friday’s show, which was being broadcast on the network.

“And then are we just going to combat that from a rat every single time?”

McAfee noted a “sabotage attempt” in which someone tried to release inaccurate ratings of the show because they were made public.

“it’s been happening basically this entire season from some people who didn’t necessarily love the old addition of the ‘Pat McAfee Show’ to the ESPN family,” he continued, citing “anonymous” quotes in other outlets.

McAfee said he and Williamson have “zero respect” for each other.

ESPN logo

The ESPN logo, displayed on a phone screen, and a basketball are seen in a photo taken in Krakow, Poland, on Dec. 1, 2022.  (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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“That guy left me in his office for 45 minutes and no-showed me in 2018, so this guy has had zero respect for me, and in return, same thing back to him for a long time,” he said.

But even with the “rat,” McAfee said his show is “still growing somehow.”

“So we’re very thankful. I think we’re doing it right. We’re trying to do it as right as possible. We have good intentions every single time we come in here. We don’t always get it right, but motherf—ers been getting it wrong for a long time in this specific field. Long time,” he said.

“We’re having a good time. We’re lucky to do this, obviously. Sports are amazing. They’re supposed to unify. If you look at our demo, I think we’re one of the most unified shows that’s ever been allowed on TV from political backgrounds, religion backgrounds. These ratings are stupid, who knows what they actually mean, but we’re thankful that a lot of people allegedly watch our show.”

ESPN declined comment.

Pat McAfee in the Royal Rumble

Pat McAfee is introduced prior to the WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Jan. 28, 2023.  (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

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The show put itself in hot water this week when Rodgers, a weekly guest on the program, said that Jimmy Kimmel should be “really hoping [the Jeffrey Epstein list] doesn’t come out.”

McAfee, a former Indianapolis Colts punter, equated the comments Rodgers made as an attempt to “talk s—” and apologized for “being a part of” the drama that came about afterward.

“We obviously don’t like the fact that we’re associated with anything negative ever. We like our show to be an uplifting one. A happy one. A fun one. But it’s because we talk s— and try to make light of everything, some things obviously people get very p—ed off about, especially when they’re that serious of allegations,” he said.

Pat McAfee at the 'Quarterback' premiere

Pat McAfee attends the Los Angeles premiere of Netflix’s “Quarterback” at Tudum Theater in Hollywood, California, on July 11, 2023. (JC Olivera/Getty Images)

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McAfee added, “Hopefully those two will be able to settle this.”

ESPN apologized for Rodgers’ comments earlier Friday.

“Aaron made a dumb and factually inaccurate joke about Jimmy Kimmel. It should never have happened. We all realized that in the moment,” ESPN senior vice president of digital and studio production Mike Foss said, via Front Office Sports.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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