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Media Meltdowns

Pat McAfee: My Dumb Larry Nassar Joke Is Actually Investigative Journalisms

Have you forgotten about the crimes of Larry Nassar? The most sunburned man in America hasn't. Pat McAfee is using his considerable platform to bring attention to Nassar's decades of abuse in the subtlest and most biting ways possible. This is what true service journalism looks like.

One might think that something as sprawling and horrific as a prominent trainer using his position of power within Michigan State and USA Gymnastics to abuse hundreds of women and girls shouldn't be litigated within the rhetorical framework of mouth-breather college football grievance. (One might also not really understand what the "joke" here "is.") However, to McAfee, who addressed this pushback on Monday's episode of the Pat McAfee Show, asking him to shut up is akin to burying the Nassar story.

I am not going to ask you to watch five minutes of McAfee tottering around while a half-dozen sycophants grin at him, but he is trying to make the case that he was both joking around with his buddy online, but also doing the important work of make sure Nassar's crimes are not buried or forgotten. In fact, by asking him to cool it with the jokes, McAfee contends, are you not actually protecting Nassar? "This show covered that more that anybody, about how bad of a guy he was," he said. "More than anybody."

It continues in this circular manner for some time, and the argument never really ever gets more complex than that, though I did enjoy McAfee seeming to forget that he made the original joke that kicked this whole thing off, saying, "If he did design those terrible jerseys that Michigan State had as well, you know, that wouldn't even be mentioned in the Larry Nassar entire thing." These are the cutting insights for which ESPN is paying McAfee a Draymond Green–sized contract over the next five years.

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