Pat McAfee accuses ESPN executives of sabotaging his show amid Aaron Rodgers-Jimmy Kimmel drama

Pat McAfee waved goodbye to his NFL career and returned to the limelight in 2023 when he signed a lucrative multiyear contract with ESPN. Despite suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, Aaron Rodgers has become a famous figure on the “Pat McAfee” program, which has been a significant source of revenue for Rodgers. As a result, his show has gained a lot of attention.

While the show is on the way to gaining much popularity, earlier this week, as a guest, Rodgers stirred controversy by saying that Jimmy Kimmel’s name would be on the Epstein List. Nevertheless, amid all the controversy, Pat remained quick to blame an ESPN reporter for the whole saga after issuing a public apology from Aaron’s side. 

Pat McAfee accuses ESPN executives of sabotaging his show

Following the Rodgers-Kimmel saga, Pat McAfee got engaged in a cold war with a top ESPN executive, Norby Williamson. The clash reached its peak as McAfee openly accused Williamson of attempting to sabotage his widely-watched show.

McAfee didn’t mince words as he addressed the brewing controversy on Friday, pointing fingers directly at Williamson for what he perceives as a deliberate attempt to undermine his show. Despite the show’s increasing viewership, McAfee voiced his concerns about internal forces within ESPN working against him.

“Now there are some people actively trying to sabotage us from within ESPN. More specifically, I believe Norby Williamson is the guy who is attempting to sabotage our program.”

By mentioning the success of his show, McAfee expressed gratitude for ESPN’s hospitality but didn’t shy away from calling it out, as he sees it as a calculated effort to harm his program. 

“More people are watching the show than ever before. We’re very thankful for the ESPN folks being very hospitable,” McAfee said. 

The crux of McAfee’s allegations revolves around misinformation being leaked from within ESPN, pointing fingers directly at Williamson. He highlighted instances where inaccurate information about the show’s ratings was released prematurely. 

“Somebody tried to get ahead of our actual ratings release with wrong numbers 12 hours beforehand. That’s a sabotage attempt.”

As the accusations fly, the public is left to speculate on the motives and dynamics at play between McAfee and ESPN’s four-decade-long veteran executive editor and head of event and studio production.  The former NFL player didn’t even hold back, sharing that his discord with Williamson dates back to 2018, when the ESPN executive left him waiting in his office for 45 minutes.

As the saga unfolds, media reports present a mixed narrative. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand suggested that McAfee’s ratings aren’t stellar, questioning whether the host is worth the headache.

Meanwhile, OutKick’s Bobby Burack posited that McAfee’s hiring might have occurred over Williamson’s objections, with the executive allegedly not favoring McAfee as the host. ESPN, when approached for comments, chose not to respond, leaving the situation open to interpretation.

Stephen A. Smith applauds Pat McAfee for apologizing

The incident in question revolved around comments made by Rodgers during the show, prompting Pat McAfee to take a conciliatory stance that garnered praise from another prominent figure in the sports world, Stephen A. Smith.

Smith discussed his thoughts on McAfee’s choice to apologize on an episode of his own podcast, claiming that the host wasn’t at fault and didn’t need to feel bad about it.

“I can applaud Pat McAfee for apologizing, but let me be the first to say, he didn’t need to. He didn’t do anything wrong. It’s his show, the show is live, he didn’t know what Aaron Rodgers was going to say.”

Smith continued to dissect the situation, expressing a belief that Rodgers’ comments were intended as a joke rather than a serious assertion. 

“I do feel like Pat McAfee hit the nail on the head when he said Aaron Rodgers was just taking a dig at him [Kimmel], he was just joking around, he wasn’t necessarily serious about such a thing.”

Nevertheless, despite McAfee’s perceived exoneration, Smith acknowledged that there was still an obligation on Rodgers’ part to issue an apology. Smith’s call for an apology from the Jet’s starter points to the significance of addressing sensitive topics responsibly, even in the context of humor. 

“But let me say this to Aaron Rodgers – Jeffrey Epstein ain’t nothing to joke about. I love Aaron Rodgers, everybody knows he’s a bad man, you know me. But Aaron Rodgers should just apologize. Plain and simple.”

Should Rodgers regard Smuth’s suggestion?  What’s your opinion on the matter?

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.

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