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“Just Scared”: Despite Signing $85 Million Deal, Pat McAfee Has No Chill as Majority of Fans Disapprove Move

Published 06/03/2023, 5:08 AM EDT

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It is a year of major transitions for ex-NFL punter Pat McAfee. Not only did he become a dad for the first time with the birth of his first child, but his professional career as the host of the Pat McAfee show is going through changes as well. After walking out of his four-year $120 million FanDuel deal, McAfee has now signed an $85 million contract with sports network ESPN to bring his show to ESPN, ESPN+, and also their Youtube channel.

While McAfee will be excited to start his new journey with the network, a lot of fans were not happy with the 36-year-old making this transition. And there are many factors behind these fans’ negative reactions to the deal. Now, in a recent interview, McAfee addressed these criticisms, while also talking about the probable reason of these fans feeling this way with his transition.

Pat McAfee gets real about the criticisms

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During a recent episode of the SI Podcast, the ex-NFL punter joined host Jimmy Traina on the show. During the interview, Traina talked about his surprise at all the negative criticism coming after McAfee agreed to sign with ESPN. Traina went on to ask him about the overall experience of the situation. Answering people’s negative reaction, Pat McAfee said that “people are just scared” that ESPN will take over the creative control of the show to “cut sports down.”

 

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Further talking about his experience McAfee asked people to “have a little more faith” in them. McAfee said, “But we’re not talented to do that. Like I’m not talented to stand on a table for something I don’t believe in, which is potentially what some sports media has become. For us, it’s just like let’s talk. Let’s learn about these people.” He further went on to state that he’s not going to “chastise” people for their views and opinions. McAfee goes on to talk about how his vision is to talk about sports stars for the betterment of the knowledge of the sports world for the fans. 

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Read more: After Walking Out of $120 Million, New Reports Reveal Money Isn’t the Reason Why Pat McAfee Turned to ESPN

While Pat McAfee goes through his transition into the network, ESPN has also been making major moves that have not sat well with a majority of the people, with all the layoffs going on in the network.

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The ESPN layoff crisis

The layoff is a part of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s wish of slashing 7,000 jobs in the company, thus also reducing $5.5 billion in costs. April 27 saw the first round of the layoff take place, also bringing to light the pay gap between on-air starts and regular company employees. A recent report also stated that Pat McAfee might be hijacking Max Kellerman’s slot on the show. His show, ‘This Just In’ airs from around 2 PM to 3 PM. McAfee has announced that his own show on the channel will air after Mike Greenberg’s ‘Get Up’ (8 AM to 10 AM) and Stephen A. Smith’s ‘First Take’ (10 Am to noon). This led to speculations that Kellerman might be shown the exit door by the channel to make room for their new $85 million signing.

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Do you think Pat McAfee will continue to enjoy the same success of his show after it airs on ESPN? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Priyam Hazarika

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One take at a time

Priyam Hazarika is a ‘freshman’ at EssentiallySports. He was picked in the latest round of ‘ES Draft’ when we picked young writers with plenty of passion for NFL writing. Still in his early days, Priyam is driven by the words of wisdom from one of the greatest NFL coaches, Vince Lombardi: “Winning is not everything — but making the effort to win is.
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Edited by:

Nidhi Rana