Jemele Hill, others weigh in after Pat McAfee lambasts ESPN exec


Ghosts of ESPN’s past have chimed in after Pat McAfee took shots at network executive Norby Williamson on his show on Friday.

Following a column by The Post’s Andrew Marchand which opined that McAfee would need to get better TV ratings to justify a $17 million annual salary and the headaches he brings to ESPN with segments like the one that led to the Aaron Rodgers-Jimmy Kimmel incident, McAfee was speaking on his show about the various viewership he gets across digital platforms before ranting that he believes Williamson is a “rat” who is trying to “sabotage” his show.

After the clip went viral, a number of former ESPN talents weighed in.

“I can relate,” Jemele Hill tweeted.

Michelle Beadle responded to Hill, “Well, well, welll…” and added a laughing emoji.

Norby Williamson is a longstanding high-ranking executive for ESPN. The Washington Post via Getty Images
Pat McAfee accused ESPN executive Norby Williamson of trying to ‘sabotage’ his show. Getty Images

Michael Ryan Ruiz, the executive producer for the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” tweeted “Pat” with three clapping emojis.

Bomani Jones appeared to refer to the situation with a tweet that read, “That’s wild bruh.”

Hill, Beadle and Le Batard all had their shows come in Williamson’s cross-hairs near the end of their times making millions at ESPN.

Williamson has been at ESPN since 1985, rising from out of the mailroom to become one of the network’s top executives.

He has famously butted heads with ESPN talents who veer from meat-and-potatoes sports talk, having feuded with voices including Stuart Scott and Bill Simmons during his nearly four decades at the network, and has alternately had great relationships with the broadcasters whose content vibes with his visions.

Along with Michael Smith, Hill co-hosted “SC6” — the reimagined version of the 6pm “SportsCenter” that was supposed to meld the network’s flagship news and highlights program with the successful “His & Hers” talk show they’d previously hosted.

After the show had struggles, Williamson sought to revert the show to be more “SportsCenter-y” and eventually replaced the duo with Sage Steele and Kevin Negandhi.

Jemele Hill said she can ‘relate’ to Pat McAfee in his beef with Norby Williamson. Getty Images for ESSENCE
Michelle Beadle also chimed in on the Pat McAfee-Norby Williamson dustup. Getty Images for ESPN

Hill and ESPN eventually reached a buyout.

Beadle was the first co-host alongside Mike Greenberg on “Get Up!” and left the show to focus on hosting “NBA Countdown” after the weekday morning show came under Williamson’s purview.

“We’re very appreciative, and we understand that more people are watching this show than ever before. We’re very thankful for the ESPN folks for being very hospitable. 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,” McAfee said on his show on Friday.

“Now, I’m not 100 percent sure. That is just seemingly the only human that has information, and then that information gets leaked, and it’s wrong, and it sets a narrative of what our show is.

“And then are we just gonna combat that from a rat every single time? Somebody tried to get ahead of our actual ratings release with wrong numbers 12 hours beforehand. That’s a sabotage attempt. It’s been happening 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 those.”

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