Barstool Sports has long been at war with the NFL, mostly stemming from founder Dave Portnoy’s passionate disdain for Roger Goodell because of the way the commissioner handled the Deflategate scandal. Now, Portnoy is considering taking the most powerful sports league in America to court.
And the native Bostonian feels confident that he would win.
On Tuesday, Portnoy told TMZ that his company is planning to send a cease and desist letter to the NFL over some Cowboys-themed “Sundays are for the Boys” shirts that are currently being sold on NFL.com. Portnoy made it no secret that he despises Goodell and isn’t going to let the NFL get away with what he considers a “clear copyright violation.”
“For them to put those shirts out, which is a clear copyright violation, pretty much the only copyright Barstool has ever had, the ‘Saturdays are for the Boys,’ that’s a ripoff,” Portnoy said. “They’d be the first ones to sue if that was reversed. They sue on things that they don’t even have the rights for.”
For those who are unfamiliar with the network, Barstool is a growing media company that specializes in satire. They have started numerous social media trends over the years, but the “Saturdays are for the Boys” movement is by far the biggest. Portnoy believes the NFL is playing directly off of that, and he is confident the shirts will be removed from the NFL Shop.
“We will take legal action. I’d be surprised if they don’t take them down, because they’re definitely in the wrong,” he said. “We’ll definitely send a cease and desist. There’s a million different variations of how people use that phrase, but every single time we’re basically found in the right. They wouldn’t be doing that shirt without ‘Saturdays are for the Boys.’ It’s a play on that.
“They’re definitely gonna take those shirts down. There’s no way, because we’d sue them. We’d go all the way through and sue them and win.”
No one understands the concept of “any publicity is good publicity” better than Portnoy, which is why he admitted he isn’t angry over the NFL allegedly stealing his company’s trademarked phrase. Remember, he and his cronies once went to jail for refusing to leave the NFL’s headquarters. They’ll take the content any way they can get it.
Why did ESPN partner with controversial sports media company Barstool Sports on a TV show and then pull the plug on the show after only one episode? It’s a great question, but Barstool Sports’ founder Dave Portnoy shared some insight about the reason for the cancellation.
“From what we heard, there was a mini-uprising (at ESPN),” Portnoy said during one of his humorous “emergency press conference” videos posted to Twitter Monday. “When I say mini, I’d guess 95 percent of ESPN employees actually like Barstool. And there’s a small minority of employees — there are people who didn’t like the show.”
Portnoy then said that ESPN executives wanted to air the show and approved of the content, but the problem is the greater parent company couldn’t live with the association to the Barstool brand and what comes with it.
“They got pushed around. Anybody who thinks the ESPN executives want to cancel the show are nuts. They’re a Walt Disney company. They got to cater to the complaints and what the few say,” Portnoy said in his video.
ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement announcing the cancellation that “While we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.”
Barstool is a sports humor brand that proudly eschews political correctness in an effort to connect with its audience through its authenticity. They have been involved in many controversies over the years due to some of their offensive content.
What likely hampered the partnership with ESPN was the tweets of host Sam Ponder released before the debut of “Barstool Van Talk” on ESPN2. Ponder brought up sexist comments Barstool’s hosts had made about her in the past. What Ponder had rehashed is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of offensive content about ESPN Barstool has said or published over the years.
ESPN comes out looking bad because the swift cancellation indicates how much they miscalculated the backlash they would receive as a result of the partnership, as well as how they would respond to external pressure.
ESPN made a surprising decision recently to partner with Barstool Sports for a late-night TV show, but the partnership was incredibly short-lived.
On Monday, ESPN announced that it has cancelled its new show “Barstool Van Talk” after just one episode. ESPN president John Skipper admitted in a statement that the network was hoping to be able to distance itself from the Barstool brand despite working with two of its employees.
Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter are cohosts of “Pardon My Take,” which has quickly become one of the most popular podcasts in the country. The Barstool personalities released a statement of their own after the news broke.
It’s almost impossible to believe ESPN didn’t know there would be backlash after partnering with Barstool. What network executives probably didn’t expect was one of their own employees leading the charge in bashing the World Wide Leader for getting into bed with a site that has been criticized for its content, which is exactly what Sam Ponder did in a series of tweets last week.
Sam Ponder took aim at Barstool Sports this week after ESPN, the company she works for, partnered with the comedy website for a late-night TV show. And as they often do, the folks at Barstool found a way to fire back.
In a series of tweets earlier in the week, Ponder reminded her followers of a Barstool post from 2014 that called her a “bible-thumping freak.” She also pointed out that the company’s founder, Dave Portnoy, referred to her as a “slut” once. Portnoy, who insists the comment was made in jest and taken out of context, responded by digging up some old tweets from Ponder in which she used the same term and said some other regrettable things.
Barstool has a massive, loyal following, and those readers often help the site’s writers expose their attackers as hypocrites. The same thing happened this week when Fansided founder Adam Best encouraged men in the sports media industry to speak out against Barstool for being a “disgusting outlet.” After Best put Barstool in his crosshairs, one of the site’s writers dug up dozens of tweets proving Best has made misogynistic and sexist comments on numerous occasions.
The tweets Ponder sent were from nearly seven years ago, when she was still in her early-20s. On Wednesday, the “Sunday NFL Countdown” host said she has changed a lot and has no problem owning her mistakes.
Barstool’s show on ESPN2, “Barstool Van Talk,” premiered Tuesday night. It is hosted by Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter, who are the men behind “Pardon My Take,” the most popular sports podcast on the web. Barstool has been highly critical of ESPN in the past, especially with the way Portnoy attacked the network over its Deflategate coverage.
Despite the mini-war Ponder waged against Barstool, ESPN has no plans to cancel the new show.
ESPN and Barstool Sports announced this week that the two media companies will be teaming up for a late-night show, and not all of the World Wide Leader’s employees are happy about it.
Sam Ponder, a former sideline reporter who has been hosting “Sunday NFL Countdown” this season, sarcastically welcomed Dan “Big Cat” Katz to the ESPN family on Monday. She did so by highlighting a Barstool blog post from 2014 in which Ponder was called a “bible-thumping freak.” At the time, Ponder criticized Barstool for condemning Ray Rice’s act of domestic violence when they are one of a number of websites that “constantly disrespect women & objectify their bodies.”
When Katz noted that the blog post Ponder highlighted was not authored by him, Ponder pointed out to her followers that she was once called a “slut” on Barstool’s popular “Rundown” show. Katz said he actually defended Ponder that day and told her it was his boss, Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, who insulted her. Here’s some of the exchange:
When asked why she didn’t speak up three years ago, Ponder said she feels differently now that the company she works for has partnered with Barstool.
It’s pretty shocking that ESPN has teamed up with Barstool, especially since the latter’s uber-popular “Pardon My Take” podcast was the subject of a cease and desist letter from ESPN when it first launched. Since then, Katz and co-host PFT Commenter have had numerous ESPN personalities on the podcast.
Portnoy has gone to great lengths to bash ESPN since the Deflategate scandal involving his New England Patriots, which is another reason the latest news is a surprise.
Only two years ago, the thought of a Barstool Sports show being televised on ESPN would have been a headline fit for The Onion. Today, it’s a reality.
“Pardon My Take,” a Barstool Sports podcast starring the hilarious duo of “Big Cat” and “PFT Commenter”, is headed to ESPN2, multiple outlets reported on Wednesday. Awful Announcing’s Ben Koo shared news on the matter, saying the popular podcast would be turned into a late-night TV show. He says the podcast would likely be unaffected. Koo also reports that an announcement is imminent and may have been held off due to Wednesday’s news that former FS1 personality Katie Nolan is joining ESPN.
The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis shared more details about the development. He says the production company Barstool Sports has been using, Embassy Row, will produce the show.
Since the moment “Pardon My Take” was launched last year, it soared up the charts to become one of the most popular podcasts in the iTunes store, with reports saying it averages around 1 million downloads per episode. Barstool said the show was a comedy show that used sports as its vehicle to make its points.
To have an understanding of the show, one need only look at the comical name, which is generated by jamming together two ESPN shows they satirized — “First Take” and “Pardon the Interruption.” The show was a response to the yelling and screaming on sports talk shows at many networks and has become a major hit.
Pardon my Take has come a long way. When it first launched, ESPN sent Barstool a cease and desist letter over the show’s name and logo. Over the past year, they’ve gone so far as to allow their personalities to appear on the show and have the hosts appear as guests on ESPN. And now they apparently are bringing them on ESPN2.
Kevin Love is not here whatsoever for any of your lightweight Twitter slander.
Barstool Sports took a shot at the Cleveland Cavaliers big man on Friday, tweeting a video poking fun at his perceived inability to fit in with the team.
For his part, Love wasn’t about to let them bring that weak sauce into his paint and went on to reply thusly:
The “fit out” criticism is a popular and persistent one that has followed Love throughout his time in Cleveland, and he seems to be quite sick of it. Now we can add this epic clapback to his impressive 2017 Twitter highlight reel.
Barstool Sports remains a thorn in the NFL’s side. Their latest act included crashing an NFL Competition Committee conference call on Thursday.
Dan Katz, better known by his alias “Big Cat” at Barstool Sports, crashed the conference call with a hilarious prank.
Big Cat suggested eliminating extra points and having a control center where a greased-up Andy Reid climbs a goal post like a “Double Dare” challenge. He also suggested getting rid of the “Sr.” suffix on nameplates for, well, a funny reason.
Here’s the audio:
Pro Football Talk took notice of Big Cat crashing the call and tweeted about it.
Some said that would cost the gang media credentials for NFL events, but it’s a little late for that as they already aren’t credentialed by the league. Keep in mind these are the same guys who got arrested outside of the NFL headquarters for protesting the Deflategate penalties.
One of the most surprising stories of the offseason was revealed late on Wednesday night.
Pat McAfee announced that he is retiring from the NFL to join emerging sports media company Barstool Sports.
The news was announced on Barstool Sports’ show on Comedy Central.
The former Indianapolis Colts punter also shared this note on Twitter:
McAfee, 29, had knee surgery last offseason and skipped the Pro Bowl this year because he needed another knee operation. That marked his third surgery in the last four years, which clearly weighed on his decision to quit football.
“Never leaving Indiana, but I’m going to be a Barstool guy forever,” McAfee said on the ‘Barstool Rundown’ from the Super Bowl. “My life has been littered with horrible decisions. This is at the top of the list. Can’t wait to get started!”
McAfee’s retirement leaves the Colts in a tough spot as they now need to replace the two-time Pro Bowl punter. McAfee was a 2014 first-team All-Pro punter. He has become known for his social media humor, as seen here.
He should be a natural fit at Barstool Sports, which has made major forays into TV, podcasting, and radio since investor and media mogul Peter Chernin purchased a majority stake in the company last year.
Barstool Sports made major news recently when it was announced former TV executive and investor Peter Chernin was buying a large stake of the company. Now we’re already starting to see some of the effects of the financial move taking shape.
Barstool announced this week the hiring of two new contributors — the humorous satirizer PFT Commenter and Katherine Timpf. They paired PFT Commenter with existing personality, Chicago-based Big Cat, for a new podcast which is currently the top-ranked podcast in iTunes despite not even having released a full show yet (the debut is set for Friday). The podcast plans to run three times a week being published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The hilariously named “Pardon My Take” podcast featuring PFT Commenter and Big Cat seems to be part of a new podcast initiative for Barstool. In addition to Pardon My Take, they already have New York-based KFC’s “Mailtime” podcast, and founder Dave Portnoy recently launched his “The Dave Portnoy Show,” which is also top five in iTunes.
But the real game-changer could be a TV show, which seems to be in the works.
From the moment Chernin bought a stake in the company, one could see TV was the direction this group was headed. Chernin is a former president of News Corp (which runs all the Fox brands), a former Showtime exec, and he owns a production company which makes many TV shows and movies. Barstool already produces a popular daily TV show called “The Rundown” which streams online.
This week the crew was in LA meeting with top Hollywood agents who are trying to sign the group with the idea of pitching them to networks. In his Mailtime podcast posted Thursday, KFC and Big Cat talked about their meetings and acknowledged that “The Rundown” will likely end up on TV somewhere. KFC did say it’s likely they initially end up somewhere not quite as high-profile, such as late night on Comedy Central, to begin their TV careers.
Barstool’s biggest personalities — Portnoy, Big Cat and KFC — have said they view their brand as a comedy one more than a sports one.
Upon learning of Chernin’s investment in the company, which we’re guessing was in the range of $5-$10 million, I predicted the company would eventually have a value in the $200 million range. Being put on TV where their brand will be exposed to a newer and even larger audience is one of the first steps in that direction.