ESPN’s Pat McAfee issue just gets more complicated.
On Friday, the host and former NFL punter publicly attacked longtime ESPN executive Norby Williamson, accusing him of leaking information to reporters and “actively trying to sabotage” him.
The New York Post reported Regarding McAfee’s relatively low ratings, he said Thursday: “Since McAfee’s show began on ESPN in the fall, ‘First Take’ with Stephen A. Smith has given McAfee 583,000 viewers. , McAfee maintained just 302,000 employees, a decrease of 48%.
McAfee hinted that Williamson may have leaked the idea for the article to New York Post reporter Andrew Marchand. Marchand declined to comment.
“I believe Norby Williamson is the guy who is trying to sabotage our program,” McAfee said. “We’re not 100% sure. It seems like that person is the only one with the information, but somehow that information was leaked and it’s wrong.”
McAfee did not say specifically which information was incorrect. Other ESPN talent has speculated for years that Mr. Williamson leaked personal information, including contract information, according to people familiar with the matter. On Friday, former ESPN journalist Jemele Hill posted on social media platform X that she “sympathizes” with McAfee’s comments about Williamson.
There is no evidence that Mr. Williamson leaked any information. Williamson, who has worked at ESPN for nearly 40 years, declined to comment through an ESPN spokesperson.
ESPN executives highly value the importance of McAfee and Williamson and are looking into the details of why McAfee slandered executives, the people said. A person familiar with the matter said McAfee’s suspension is not planned and that ESPN hopes both Williamson and McAfee can find a way forward.
An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment.
Earlier this week, McAfee found himself under fire for giving New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers a platform to denigrate his teammates. disney employee. Rodgers, who frequently appears on McAfee’s show, falsely suggested that ABC late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel would be included in court documents related to late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. did. Kimmel fired back Tuesday. Tweet Rogers’ “Reckless Words” [his] My family is at risk. ”
McAfee later apologized Regarding Kimmel’s comments.
“I understand why Jimmy Kimmel felt the way he did, especially when it came to his position,” McAfee said Wednesday, noting that Rodgers “went too far.”
ESPN also addressed Rodgers’ comments about Kimmel on Friday.
“Aaron made a stupid and factually inaccurate joke about Jimmy Kimmel. That should never have happened. We all realized that in that moment,” said an ESPN executive. Mike Foss said. told Front Office Sports.
The New York Post previously reported McAfee reportedly paid Rodgers “several million” to appear on the show. The former MVP and Super Bowl champion, who made hundreds of millions of dollars in the NFL, joined the Jets last year after playing more than a decade with the Green Bay Packers. He missed the season with an Achilles tendon injury.
A representative for Mr. Rogers did not respond to a request for comment.