Pat McAfee Believes He Can Change Sports Media With New ESPN Deal

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On Wednesday, Pat McAfee took time to address the reaction to his recently announced deal with ESPN.

McAfee is one of the biggest names in sports media, and on Tuesday it was announced that he had inked a deal with ESPN that would see him earning a reported $10 million. The move means that The Pat McAfee Show will appear on ESPN, ESPN+, as well as the company’s YouTube channel.

However, this left some fans concerned that ESPN would assume some degree of creative control over McAfee’s show. His irreverent style doesn’t seem like it would mesh with the current state of ESPN. Plus, while he had a working relationship with the network before this deal, according to Awful Announcing, McAfee had once banned ESPN talent from appearing on his show.

So, the ex-Colts punter addressed these concerns and asked for fans to have some faith in him.

“Sports media has really been one particular thing for a very long time, and I know there’s people that do different things other than debate, but the debate era certainly became a thing in sports media,” McAfee said. “And debates naturally lead to division and nitpicking and tearing people down because that is what debates do. So I think a lot of sports media was trying to mimic what Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless created.”

McAfee touted his show’s audience for including people from across the political spectrum. However, he revealed he still received backlash after the announcement on his — and even his wife’s — social media pages.

Pat McAfee told fans that he thinks his show can change sports media for the better. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

McAfee Says He Thinks He Can Help Make Sports Media Less Divisive

McAfee said that as an athlete, he saw many of his teammates get lambasted by this formula. So, he said he decided to try something a bit more positive.

“I think we have a real opportunity here to change sports media as a whole,” McAfee said, per Awful announcing. “Because just like Stephen A. and Skip had success and everybody wanted to replicate it, if we’re able to get in there and showcase that ‘Hey, you’re able to cover sports in a celebratory fashion in a way that you’re happy for people as opposed to trying to prove why people shouldn’t be in the position that they’re in.’

“I think there’s a chance that that could maybe ooze into other decisions that are being made and we have a real opportunity here to change a narrative about an entire division of people, sports media.”

It’s an interesting way to look at it.

Quick; someone explain this mindset to the likes of Kendrick Perkins.

McAfee acknowledged that both he and ESPN will have to deal with more backlash once their partnership begins, but assured fans they’d get through it.

“Please have faith that we will be able to produce a show that is entertaining and still our soul and our spirit,” he said. “Because that is literally what the entire conversation was. Other than that, I am so pumped to be a part of ESPN.”

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.


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  1. let me see if I have this right…

    4 years 120m and you can be your own boss, say what you want
    or 10m per year and you have to answer to bosses, espn, disney, shareholders, and censor what you say.

    and he went for num 2???

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