Pat McAfee on Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Kimmel Credit: The Pat McAfee Show

Pat McAfee’s weekly interview with Aaron Rodgers once again went sideways when Rodgers accused ABC host Jimmy Kimmel of connections to notorious convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

After Rodgers’ comments went viral, Kimmel responded. The late-night host, who is McAfee’s Disney colleague, claimed the connection to Epstein put his family in danger. Kimmel threatened legal action if Rodgers continued to make baseless accusations.

To kick off Wednesday’s Pat McAfee Show on ESPN, McAfee responded to the firestorm. He expressed his understanding of Kimmel’s anger while also appearing to defend Rodgers.

“There’s no formal outline of what we’re going to talk about, how we’re going to talk about it,” McAfee explained. “There is just an opportunity to talk about damn near everything for three and a half hours. And in doing so, the upside of that is some magic will come that you never knew would come … on the flip side, there can be some things that could be certainly, probably, and we’re going to have to hear from Aaron on that, meant to be s*** talk jokes that then leads to a massive overnight story.

“But I can see exactly why Jimmy Kimmel felt the way he felt, especially with his position. But I think Aaron was just trying to talk s***. Now, did it go too far? Jimmy Kimmel certainly said that was the case. We and I, immediately upon it happening, tried to go, ‘ooh, ooh, ooh, no.’ But that is Aaron and Jimmy.”

McAfee explained that it’s not his or his producers’ goal to ever take the show in a negative or controversial direction.

“We obviously don’t like the fact that we’re associated with anything negative ever,” McAfee said. “We like our show to be an uplifting one, a happy one, a fun one. But it’s because we talk s*** and try to make light of everything, some things obviously people get very pissed off about, especially when they’re that serious of allegations.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Front Office Sports reported ESPN declined to comment on whether it would “examine” Rodgers’ future as a guest on McAfee. Last year, McAfee confirmed he has paid Rodgers for contributions to the program.

So far, ESPN has not exercised much control at all over McAfee or the show outside prohibiting f-bombs. Time will tell whether this blow-up with a fellow star Disney talent is any different.

[The Pat McAfee Show on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.