Why do people in the media keep trying to make a story out of Barstool Sports head honcho Dave Portnoy being exactly the person he claims to be? It just keeps happening. Most recently comes a pathetic attempt at a New York Times exposé that does little more than expose Portnoy for being everything his listeners, readers and fans know him to be: a mouthy, opinionated, over-the-top degenerate gambler and the court jester of a sports and gambling conglomerate that has become a dominating cultural force under his leadership.
The Times apparently thinks their readership is unaware of all of this, and deems it noteworthy that he has had to climb out of the pit of gambling-fueled bankruptcy in the past. I’m only surprised that his losses were only $30,000, not ten times that. And in typical Portnoy fashion, he responded to the hit piece by publishing the receipts: multiple conversations over months with the Times writer, insisting that he would talk but only if it was recorded on audio and video. The Times writer refused, then described him (falsely) as dodging her requests.
This is a direct quote:
“The Times provided Mr. Portnoy with detailed questions about this article. Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.”
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) November 20, 2022
What would a legitimate journalist have to fear from such a recording of an interview with a subject like Portnoy? Nothing whatsoever.
As a creative force, it’s true that Portnoy has come to be an avatar for a certain type of apex frat bro gambler, but even the Times concedes in its piece that the portion of the gambling industry occupied by Barstool since their deal with Penn Entertainment is relatively small. Since the Supreme Court ruling legalizing sports gambling in 2018, the phenomenon now dominates the entire world of sports coverage — it is a constant on radio airwaves and featured in every broadcast across every network. Barstool is just part of the story, with their unique fan culture operating with a knowing arch approach to decadence, emphasizing the hilarity of it all.
Identifying Portnoy as gambling’s champion is absurd in an environment where the Manning family is pushing Caesars, Jamie Foxx is pushing MGM and Matt Damon is doing Super Bowl commercials urging you to bet on crypto because “fortune favors the brave.”
The Times should be more concerned with the type of irresponsible betting going on FTX than in Portnoy’s world — but no, they’re here to write a puff piece about Sam Bankman-Fried. Because SBF, unlike Portnoy, puts his money in the right political pockets instead of maxing it out on the ponies.
Maybe if Portnoy invites Katy Perry, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to his next party with Gronk, he could get better treatment from the Gray Lady.