Michael Kay Backtracks, Says Threat To Get ESPN Show’s Producer Fired Was ‘Performative’ Because He’s ‘A Good Performer’

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ESPN radio commentator Michael Kay thought he was flexing power by threatening a producer’s job with the stroke of a phone dial; now he’s backtracking the jab and calling it an on-air stunt.

The New York Yankees broadcaster reeled back a shot taken at Ray Santiago, producer for ESPN New York’s morning show, DiPietro & Rothenberg.

Last week, DiPietro & Rothenberg nodded to Kay’s eponymous afternoon show and insinuated that MK might be getting increasingly jealous of the morning show’s “rising” star with every mention of their show.

“Is it the fear that this show is now on the rise, and that show’s kind of gone in the other direction lately?” Santiago said, as relayed by OutKick’s Matt Reigle.

Michael Kay then shot back during Friday’s show, threatening Santiago’s job with the power of a phone call, sparking up some in-house fighting as the network struggles to usurp WFAN‘s programming, including Carton & Roberts, which has been crushing Kay’s show.

“Ray Santiago made a comment about ratings?” Kay said to start his rant. “Do you realize, Ray, that all I’d have to do is make one phone call, and you’d be on the unemployment line?

“You have the nerve to say something like that about this show? One phone call, which I’m considering making, and you will be fired. Do you realize that? …

“Remember Ray, I am really, really sitting on the fence right now about getting you canned, opening your mouth when you shouldn’t have.”

Serious threat, right?

Kay Tries Half-Baked Excuse

Kay’s move was generally considered cheap, so he later framed the live outburst as “performative.”

Santiago’s ratings commentary clearly ticked off Kay. However, MK called it a “moronic” move if he were to actually take the bait to heart and genuinely threaten to have the producer axed.

“People don’t realize,” co-host Peter Rosenberg said during Tuesday’s show. “You know the kind of checkers you’d be playing if what you said on the air was actually real?”

“I’d be a moron,” Kay started, “Now, I’m not going to sit here and lie. Was I upset about the comment? Yeah. But it was performative because I’m such a good performer on the air, but if people want to run with it — people on social media being like you’re a low life, you’re the worst — okay. Whatever.”

Kay and crew really committed to the bit, with co-host Don La Greca calling listeners that believed the tantrum awfully gullible.

“Anybody who believed the story that what Michael did on the air was real are the same people that beat soap opera stars with handbags outside the studio thinking that they’re actually the character that they play,” La Greca said.

Either Kay’s a liar or a BAFTA-level actor. Who knows.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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