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Watch Pat McAfee Discuss Publicly What ESPN Wanted Handled Internally

ESPN said in a statement that it would handle the Pat McAfee/Norby Williamson matter internally - but did anyone bother to tell McAfee?

So here's what happened, On his Friday show, The Pat McAfee Show host Pat McAfee accused an ESPN executive who's been with the company for forty years of "attempting to sabotage" his show. The focus of McAfee's rant? Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Editor and Head of Event & Studio Production, who McAfee claimed had been fast & loose with the ratings & leaking bad data to make the show look bad. Not long after, ESPN released a statement praising both parties before adding that the company "will handle this matter internally and have no further comment. Apparently, that didn't apply to McAfee – who definitely had more to say on the matter.

pat mcafee
Images: ESPN Screencap, The Pat McAfee Show Screencap

Kicking things off by complimenting ESPN for the set-up that the show has, McAfee claims that he didn't know anyone was going to hear his comments about Williamson since it was online and not on linear. From there, McAfee admits that he felt bad about what went down because it made ESPN executive Burke Magnus – adding that the show loves Magnus, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and Disney CEO Bob Iger, while also noting that there's a deep divide between the newer & veteran executives in the company. McAfree admitted that there are folks within the company who don't like him or the show – and vice-versa. "I don't take back anything that I said about said person," McAfee said at one point, apparently referencing his Williamson comments – before ending by reaffirming the bond he says that the show has with ESPN is still strong (despite what some "old hags" have been trying to do).

Over the weekend, ESPN released a statement in response to Pat McAfee's comments. "No one is more committed to and invested in ESPN's success than Norby Williamson. At the same time, we are thrilled with the multi-platform success that we have seen from the 'Pat McAfee Show' across ESPN. We will handle this matter internally and have no further comment," read the statement from the sports network. Here's a look back at the statement from ESPN posted on social media by The New York Post's Andrew Marchand:

"More people are watching the show than ever before. We're very thankful for the ESPN folks being very hospitable," McAfee shared during his show on Friday – before switching gears. "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. I'm not 100 percent sure, he's just seemingly the only human that has information, and then somehow that information gets leaked, and it's wrong, and then it sets a narrative of what our show is." The host added, "Somebody tried to get ahead of our actual ratings release with wrong numbers 12 hours beforehand. That's a sabotage attempt. And it's been happening, basically, this entire season from some people who didn't necessarily love the old addition of the' Pat McAfee Show' to the ESPN family."

McAfee also wanted to make it clear that his issues with Williamson aren't new – referring to a moment from five years ago that he feels set the tone leading to this week. "That guy left me in his office for 45 minutes, no-showed me in 2018. So this guy has had zero respect for me, and in return, same thing back to him for a long time. So even with that taking place… we're still growing somehow. Yep. So we're very thankful. Yeah. I think we're doing it right. We're trying to do it as right as possible," McAfee added.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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