If you’re lucky enough to be at TD Garden this evening for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues, you’ll likely notice one of these beauties laying on your seat:
It’s a rally towel. You pick it up, you spin it up over your head and you cheer on your team. No big deal, right? Wrong. Fans are coming out in droves and slamming the Bruins organization for the use these towels given that they were produced, donated and used to promote sports media company Barstool Sports.
So… what’s the problem? Well… Barstool is a bit… problematic, as people are want to say these days.
Barstool and its president David Portnoy have a log history of sexual harassment and misogynist claims laid against them and so some fans have chosen to distance themselves from the entire enterprise. But… that’s kind of difficult to do when the company’s name and logo is plastered on thousands of rally towels.
Specifically though, what’s the problem with Barstool? A couple anecdotes from over the years:
Sam Ponder, the host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, tweeted out screenshots of a 2014 Barstool blog post in which Portnoy called her a “BIBLE THUMPING FREAK” whose primary job requirement was to “make men hard.” In a podcast that same week, Portnoy went on a rant while Katz egged him on, calling Ponder a “fucking slut” who should “sex it up and be slutty” instead of talking about being a working mother.
On Sept. 11, Ponder added a new allegation: Portnoy had said in a video that her daughter should have been aborted.
Four female reporters who anonymously spoke with me detailed the piles of abuse doled out by Barstool bloggers and Stoolies, and not just online.
People have been doxxed, calls have made to their home late at night, and they’ve had to lock down every single scrap of personal information, rightly fearing that it would be weaponized.
Suffice it to say… it gets worse from here on out. Portnoy and several other prominent Barstool employees have written, tweeted or broadcasted some seriously offensive, sexist and racist statements. The Bruins clearly entered this partnership either out of ignorance or well… who knows really?
In any case the backlash has been harsh, check it out: