Dan Le Batard

Dan Le Batard left ESPN in large part because he felt creatively stifled and unable to speak his mind.

Pat McAfee, who thrives on being able to speak freely, curse up a storm, and do as he pleases, is about to join ESPN.

On Tuesday, the former shared some congratulations with the latter, though he clearly seemed to bake some warnings into it.

Ever since McAfee shared a photo of himself and Disney CEO Bob Iger, it’s been rumored that The Pat McAfee Show would shuffle loose its FanDuel arrangement and become an ESPN property. That became official on Tuesday. After that news broke, McAfee released a video in which he assured his audience that aside from not using F-bombs, nothing much will change and he will still be able to do as he pleases.

That remains to be seen, and one person who would know better than anyone what happens when you push up against ESPN’s internal standards and practices, it’s Le Batard. The former ESPNer, who left the company in 2020 and went on to start Meadowlark Media with former ESPN boss John Skipper, quote-tweeted an announcement about McAfee with some advice on how to handle himself in his new home.

Giant heartfelt congratulations to [Pat McAfee],” wrote Le Batard. “Don’t let anyone change you, Pat. Or how you dress. Or how you curse. Or how you succeed. Or how you do you. Or how you do your show. You’ve done the hardest thing, your way. You’ve built a beast. Don’t let anyone tame it.”

La Batard isn’t the only media member to wonder if the free-wheeling McAfee will run into some brick walls in Bristol at some point. Last week, WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti pondered why McAfee would want to give up his independence to work for a company like ESPN.

“ESPN clearly is a content-controlling entity and probably has gotten even worse over the years with some of the Disney stuff that has gone on and has leaped into ESPN and political leanings and the things that they cover and everything else,” Giannotti said. “Why would – because if I’m him as I try to put myself in his shoes – I’ve got this great deal, I’ve got this creative control, I can say whatever I want, but now I’m going to go over to [Disney], who [is laying] off 7,000 employees and is probably going to have their hands in everything that I do?”

We’ll have to see what happens the first time McAfee drops an F-bomb at 1:00 in the afternoon or has a guest who goes on a rant that Bristol isn’t too keen on.

[Dan Le Batard]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.