ESPN Exec Who Pat McAfee Called Out Done With Network After Nearly 40 Years

26th Annual Sports Emmy Awards - Press Room
26th Annual Sports Emmy Awards - Press Room / Marc Bryan-Brown/GettyImages

Norby Williamson, a longtime ESPN executive who spent nearly 40 years with the company—and was notably called out by personality and analyst Pat McAfee in January—is parting ways with the network, according to The New York Post.

Williamson and Magnus Burke, ESPN's president of content, reportedly could not see eye-to-eye regarding the company's long-term content strategy.

Williamson, who was slated to be under contract until early 2027, said the following in a memo to ESPN employees, "Almost 40 years ago in 1985, I was so very fortunate to be offered an opportunity at ESPN. Due to the exceptional hard work, creativity and commitment of the people at ESPN, and to a much lesser extent my contributions, I’d like to think we’ve left our great company in a far better place than we found it."

Williamson began his ESPN career in the mailroom back in 1985, then proceeded to work his way up to the post of Executive Editor and Head of Event and Studio Production, a title he most recently held.

While the longtime executive had made some headlines over the years, he mostly flew under the radar until he was called out by McAfee, who effectively accused Williamson of leaking bad ratings of The Pat McAfee Show, among other things.

The search for Williamson's successor will begin as soon as possible, Burke told ESPN employees in the memo.

Tim Capurso


Tim is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Before coming aboard the SI team, he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the Lead Editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up in Mahopac, NY, just outside of NYC. It was no surprise when 10-year-old Tim announced he wanted to be a sportswriter one day, considering his favorite book at the time was The Baseball Encyclopedia. He now lives with his girlfriend, Lindsay, a die-hard Eagles and Phillies fan, just outside of Philadelphia, PA, where Tim can confirm he has been heckled more than a few times. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family. This includes their three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is also an Eagles fan.