Pat McAfee attacks ESPN executive amid Rodgers-Kimmel feud

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 9: Former NFL player and broadcaster Pat McAfee speaks on radio row before Super Bowl LVII at the Phoenix Convention Center on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Mike Lawrie | fake images

ESPN’s Pat McAfee’s problem is getting more complicated.

On Friday, the host and former NFL punter publicly attacked longtime ESPN executive Norby Williamson, accusing him of “actively trying to sabotage him” by leaking information to reporters.

The New York Post reported on McAfee’s relatively low ratings Thursday, noting that “since the start of McAfee’s show on ESPN in the fall, Stephen A. Smith and ‘First Take’ are giving McAfee a lead in 583,000 viewers, and McAfee maintains only 302,000, which represents a drop of 48%.”

McAfee suggested that Williamson may have leaked the idea for the story to New York Post reporter Andrew Marchand. Marchand declined to comment.

“I think Norby WIlliamson is the guy who’s trying to sabotage our program,” McAfee said. “I’m not 100% sure. He Apparently he’s the only human being who has information and then somehow that information gets leaked and it’s wrong.”

McAfee did not say specifically what information was incorrect. Over the years, other ESPN talents have speculated that Williamson has leaked private details, including contract information, according to people familiar with the matter. On Friday, former ESPN journalist Jemele Hill posted on social media platform X “I can relate” regarding McAfee’s comments about Williamson.

There is no evidence that Williamson leaked information. Williamson, who has worked for ESPN for nearly 40 years, declined to comment through an ESPN spokesperson.

There is also a contingent of ESPN employees who have complained about McAfee’s program and his big contract. McAfee signed a five-year, $85 million deal with ESPN in May.

ESPN management values ​​the importance of both McAfee and Williamson and is investigating the details of why McAfee disparaged an executive, according to a person familiar with the matter. There is no suspension planned for McAfee and ESPN hopes to find a path forward for both Williamson and McAfee, according to a person familiar with the matter.

An ESPN spokesman declined to comment.

Earlier this week, McAfee found himself in hot water for providing a platform for New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers to disparage a teammate. disney employee. Rodgers, a frequent guest on McAfee’s show, incorrectly suggested that ABC late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel would be included in court documents related to late sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein. Kimmel responded on Tuesday: tweeting Rodgers’ “reckless words” [his] family in danger.”

McAfee later apologized for Kimmel’s comments.

“I could see exactly why Jimmy Kimmel felt the way he felt, especially with his position,” McAfee said Wednesday, noting that Rodgers “went too far.”

ESPN on Friday also addressed Rodgers’ comments about Kimmel.

“Aaron made a stupid and factually inaccurate joke about Jimmy Kimmel. It should never have happened. We all realized that at the time,” ESPN executive Mike Foss. told Front Office Sports.

The New York Post previously reported that McAfee paid Rodgers “millions” to appear on his show. The former MVP and Super Bowl champion, who has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in the NFL, joined the Jets last year after playing for more than a decade with the Green Bay Packers. He missed the season with an Achilles tendon injury.

A representative for Rodgers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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