Pat McAfee has shelled out millions to New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban for their weekly appearances on The Pat McAfee Show, the host confirmed to the New York Post.
The money is worth it, McAfee said, because of the value Rodgers brought to McAfee’s company. “Everybody who helped us get to this point has reaped the benefits of it, that’s how business is supposed to work,” told the Post.
“To be transparent, Aaron deserves much more than what he’s gotten for the time and effort he has put into ‘Aaron Rodgers Tuesdays,’” he said.
Rodgers, who is still employed by the Jets despite a season-ending injury in August, has made regular appearances on the show for years. He challenged Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on Tuesday—along with Dr. Anthony Fauci—to a debate over COVID-19 vaccines, a week after he dubbed Kelce “Mr. Pfizer” over the latter’s marketing relationship with the pharmaceutical company.
Rodgers’ companion in such a debate, he told McAfee, would be 2024 presidential candidate and vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Rodgers’ arrangement with the ESPN-hosted show is unusual due to its lack of disclosure, particularly given the network’s status as a news operation. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics urges reporters not to pay for news and to “identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.”
ESPN, which began airing the first two hours of the show last month in a license agreement, declined to comment. A source familiar with the arrangement, however, said McAfee considered Rodgers a part of the show’s payroll before ESPN licensed the show last month. McAfee still fully produces the show and pays Rodgers, along with other show employees, “as he sees fit,” the source said.