Find Station

Several Ex-ESPN Personalities Responded to Pat McAfee's 'Sabotage' Claims

Several prominent former ESPN personalities have responded to Pat McAfee's claim that "some people" within ESPN, specifically a top executive, were trying to sabotage his television program.

The former NFL All-Pro punter went on a rant during the live broadcast of 'the Pat McAfee Show' Friday (January 5) and specifically mentioned executive editor and head of event and studio production Norby Williamson by name. A clip of the segment went viral online and led to former 'SportsCenter' anchor Jemele Hill posting, "I can relate," in response to Awful Announcing's post on its X account referencing the claim.

Former 'SportsNation' host Michelle Beadle wrote, "Well well well..." in response to Hill's post.

'Dan Le Betard Show with Stugotz' executive producer Mike Ryan Ruiz, who followed the titular host from ESPN to his Meadowlark Media company in 2022, wrote "Pat" with three hand-clapping emojis on his X account on Friday. Ruiz also shared several more posts addressing ESPN's statement claiming "no one is more committed to and invested in" the company's success than Williamson and acknowledgment "the multi-platform success" brought on by "'the Pat McAfee Show across ESPN,'" before confirming it would "handle this matter internally."

"ESPN should announce an investigation into the constant leaks. Several talents, middle & upper mgmt types have cycled through and yet these type of leaks continue finding their way to the same two reporters. Given their internal policy, an investigation should be top priority," Ruiz wrote on Saturday.

"Have to question what’s going on there when these type of leaks keep finding their way out. It would seem that someone’s been able to leak with impunity for several years despite it being grounds for termination.

"I would be furious if I was [ESPN President Jimmy] Pitaro. To think potentially senior management might be leaking privileged information. What a betrayal. Given how often leaking is discussed in compliance training and town halls, you have to think they’ll finally get to the bottom of this offense."

Former ESPN host and analyst Bomani Jones wrote, "that's wild, bruh," around the time McAfee's clip went viral, a likely reference to the situation though not specifying any additional details to confirm what he was referencing.

McAfee said he suspected there were "people actively trying to sabotage us from within ESPN" before mentioning Williamson by name.

“More specifically, I believe Norby Williamson is the guy who is attempting to sabotage our program. I'm not 100% sure," McAfee said.

“That is 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 and then are we just going to combat that from a rat every single time? I don't know.

"But like, 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. There's a lot of them.”

McAfee then explained his personal gripe with Williamson, whom he claimed no-showed a meeting between the two previously.

“That guy left me in his office for 45 minutes, no-showed me in 2018,” McAfee said. “So that guy has had no respect for me, and in return same thing to him, for a long time.”

McAfee's rant comes days after New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a baseless claim about Jimmy Kimmel -- whose late night talk show airs on ABC, which, like ESPN, is owned by the Walt Disney Company -- being named in the Jeffrey Epstein documents that were set to be released later in the week during his weekly 'Pat McAfee Show' appearance on Tuesday (January 2).