Pat McAfee addresses comments on Norby Williamson Photo credit: The Pat McAfee Show

Pat McAfee has a problem with ESPN executive Norby Williamson, but that doesn’t mean he has a problem with ESPN.

Almost immediately after signing off linear television Friday afternoon, McAfee continued his show on YouTube and ESPN+ by blasting ESPN executive Norby Williamson as a “rat” while accusing the higher-up of attempting to “sabotage” his show with leaks to the media. McAfee’s comments came less than 24 hours after Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote a column questioning whether the show’s ratings were strong enough to warrant putting up with its polarizing nature.

Minutes into his Monday afternoon show, McAfee addressed his Friday comments, doubling down on his assessment of Williamson without naming him directly, and reiterating that their feud has no bearing on his standing with ESPN.

“There was some comments about one particular person at ESPN that I made only on the YouTube ESPN+ show, that wasn’t even on linear TV. I didn’t know anybody was gonna hear it, because it was just on digital,” McAfee said with some sarcasm. “I guess everybody did hear it, it was a topic of discussion obviously the entire weekend.”

McAfee’s comments going viral on Friday, despite not airing on linear TV for ESPN, was sort of the chef’s kiss on his feud with Williamson. There is a belief that Williamson, ESPN’s head of event and studio production, doesn’t value McAfee’s digital following nearly as much as other executives do, which may have prompted a ratings leak. The Post’s ratings story also came shortly after McAfee’s show sparked controversy for giving Aaron Rodgers the platform to recklessly imply Jimmy Kimmel would surface on Jeffrey Epstein’s list of associates.

“The only thing that I’m super bummed out at all is that a guy that we like a lot, a man that watched the game with us in the suite, Burke Magnus, who is currently the new guy in charge at ESPN right below Jimmy Pitaro, I guess he was made to look bad because of what I did and how I did it,” McAfee continued. “I would like to let everybody know, we love Burke Magnus. LOVE Burke Magnus. And also love Jimmy Pitaro. Love Bob Iger. But there is quite a transitionary here between the old and the new.”

“A lot of people are saying I’m trying to get fired. No way,” McAfee said. “There’s certainly people that we do not like, certainly. And they do not like us, that’s how it’s gonna be. And I don’t take back anything that I said about said person, but the overall storyline about us and ESPN I think people need to remember; we’re strong. We’re strong, baby. And we all understand what the future looks like, there’s just some old hags that potentially don’t.”

McAfee is not even five months into his five-year $85 million deal with ESPN. Even if he was, “trying to get fired,” the task would be difficult, considering it would potentially require an astronomical buyout. It’s also hard to just take McAfee at his word that everything with ESPN is “strong” right now. But reiterating the respect and strong relationship he has with Magnus, Pitaro and Iger was certainly by design. McAfee might have an issue with Norby Williamson, but he made it clear that he doesn’t have an issue with Norby Williamson’s bosses.

ESPN released a statement on Saturday to announce there were no plans of punishing McAfee after his Friday comments, stating they “will handle this matter internally.” Two days later, McAfee was addressing the matter externally.

[The Pat McAfee Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to