Barstool Sports isn't receiving a warm welcome from their new ESPN family

By Stephanie Petit
October 18, 2017 12:31 PM
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Barstool Sports isn’t receiving a warm welcome from their new ESPN family.

On the eve of ESPN2’s debut of the late-night show Barstool Van Talk, featuring Pardon My Take podcast hosts Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter, Sam Ponder spoke out against the company.

The Sunday Morning Countdown host, 31, sarcastically greeted Katz by tweeting out screenshots of crude comments she thought he made about her in a 2014 blog post on Barstool Sports.

“Seriously you sound like a KO Barstool freak, not a chick that has a job where the #1 requirement is you [turn men on],” the article read. “So give it a rest with your righteous indignation. Your entire career and livelihood is based on appealing to guys like me and blogs like ours. Bottomline [sic] is guys thinking chicks are hot is natural. It’s Darwinism. It’s never gonna change. But that doesn’t mean we don’t respect women and think it’s okay to hit a woman. I have no idea what’s so confusing about that. Go [expletive] yourself.”

Katz responded to the tweet, claiming he did not write the post nor the editor’s note that referred to her as a “bible thumping freak.” He also said he defended her in a video segment.

“Hey Sam, thanks for the welcome. I just want to clear one thing up, I didn’t write this blog post (you make it seem like I did) and the rundown you reference I actually defended you,” he replied.

Ponder took to Twitter again on Tuesday to place the blame on Barstool founder and president Dave Portnoy.

“I was wrong in thinking @BarstoolBigCat wrote that article & called me a slut repeatedly. He just continuously laughed along,” she wrote. “It was the PRESIDENT of @barstoolsports who said these things. Happy to clarify.”

A recording from 2014, which Twitter user @sensitivemann shared with Ponder Monday night, features a conversation between Portnoy and Katz. Portnoy suggested that Ponder “sex it up and be slutty,” while Katz added, “There’s no one worse right now than Samantha Ponder. She is the absolute worst. I hate-follow her on Twitter. I can’t even stand her. Every time she tweets I want to puke all over my computer.”

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On Wednesday morning, Ponder sent out a series of tweets that addressed the controversy again, stating in part that “I am disappointed that we are promoting a company name that still maintains support for horrific personal attacks against multiple women within ESPN.”

The female CEO of Barstool Sports, Erika Nardini, spoke out in a series of tweets Tuesday night, and said that “there are certain vulnerabilities that come with growing up on the internet. If you want controversies, we have them.”

She also wrote, “Barstool grew an undeniable audience because it was unafraid to have a hot take, an unpopular opinion or to cross the line.

ESPN’s Executive Vice President Burke Magnus told USA Todaythat “the comments about Sam Ponder were offensive and inappropriate, and we understand her reaction. She is a valued colleague and doing a great job for us. As stated previously, we do not control the content of Barstool Sports. We are doing a show with Big Cat and PFT, and we do have final say on the content of that show.”

Ponder’s husband, former NFL quarterback Christian Ponder, responded to her tweet, “Proud of you.”