Who is Norby Williamson accused by Pat McAfee of sabotaging his podcast? Everything you need to know

The New York Jets have been out of the playoff run, having their last game of the 2023 NFL season scheduled to play against the New England Patriots. The season has been disappointing for the team, as their esteemed hope regarding Aaron Rodgers faced adversity following the quarterback’s season-ending injury.

Though Aaron has been out of the field for the whole season, he has always been a regular participant in the Pat McAfee show, which is hosted by former NFL player turned media personality Pat McAfee. The host has recently hit the headlines by slamming an employee of ESPN in the aftermath of the Aaron Rodgers-Jimmy Kimmel controversy.

Who is Norby Williamson?

Norby Williamson serves as ESPN’s Executive Editor and Head of Event and Studio Production. He operates within the inner circle of company president Jimmy Pitaro. With a career that began at ESPN in 1985, the veteran has steadily ascended the ranks to hold pivotal roles within the company and boasts an illustrious tenure spanning several decades.

Norby Williamson
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Since October 2005, he has wielded oversight over all studio shows and live sporting events broadcast across ESPN networks. Despite his extensive contributions, he hasn’t been immune to controversy. The ESPN personality was once critical of Stuart Scott’s popular “Boo-Yah!” catchphrase and made a comment to Bob Ley about his appearance.

The vet’s stance on sports programming leans toward a traditional approach, which favors a no-nonsense, meat-and-potatoes style. It occasionally led to clashes with personalities who diverged from this vision.

Pat McAfee accuses ESPN executive trying to sabotage his podcast

Pat McAfee has boldly accused Norby Williamson of attempting to sabotage his podcast. The eruption occurred following a controversial column by Andrew Marchand of The Post, suggesting that Pat needed to boost his TV ratings to avoid causing trouble for ESPN.

During the recent episode of his Pat McAfee show, the host shed light on the discussion, citing his program’s ratings across various platforms and the growing viewership. He expressed gratitude for ESPN’s support, but things took a drastic turn when McAfee directly called out Williamson by saying he might be actively working against the success of their show.

“We’re very appreciative, and we understand that more people are watching this show than ever before. We’re very thankful for the ESPN folks for being very hospitable. 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,” McAfee said via The Hollywood Reporter.

Following the Aaron vs. Jimmy fight, the NFL community thought Pat McAfee and ESPN would take action against A-Rod’s candid yet controversial take on the show. But McAfee was more focused on Norby. The ex-NFL star highlighted instances where misinformation was leaked, which subsequently shaped a false narrative around his show’s performance.

“Now, I’m not 100 percent sure. That is just seemingly the only human that has information, and then that information gets leaked, and it’s wrong, and it sets a narrative of what our show is.

McAfee raised concerns about the consistent attempts to undermine their ratings and mentioned instances where inaccurate numbers were released ahead of their official ratings disclosure. He marked it as a deliberate act of sabotage while labeling the leaker as a “rat.” The veteran also claimed certain individuals within ESPN were not supportive of his podcast.

“And then are we just gonna combat that from a rat every single time? Somebody tried to get ahead of our actual ratings release with wrong numbers 12 hours beforehand. That’s a sabotage attempt. It’s been happening this entire season from some people who didn’t necessarily love the old addition of ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ to the ESPN family. There’s a lot of those.”

ESPN has refrained from providing any official statement regarding McAfee’s claims. The drama started with Rodgers’ comment about Jimmy Kimmel’s potential inclusion on the infamous Epstein list. Kimmel later blasted Rodgers in a social media post by labeling him an “a**hole” while threatening him with taking legal action. Following this altercation, ESPN, in conjunction with Pat McAfee, offered apologies for Rodgers’ remarks.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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