STAFF EDITORIAL: With Bar Already Low, It’s Time to Cut Off Barstool Sports

Zach Catanzareti | Creative CommonsFollowing allegations of "violent" and "humiliating" sex with Dave Portnoy by multiple women in a Business Insider article, The Phoenix Editorial Board calls on Loyola athletes to cut off their support for his company, Barstool Sports.

Media company Barstool Sports is under fire after Business Insider published an investigative report documenting the disturbing experiences of multiple women — many barely of legal age — with 44-year-old founder Dave Portnoy.

One woman said she was screaming in pain after sex with Portnoy turned violent, and others described sex with him as humiliating as he recorded her without her consent — one girl said the experience contributed to her suicide attempt. 

All women who came forward to Insider feared retribution by Barstool Sports fans, called “Stoolies,” who have a history of viciously harassing anyone who crosses Portnoy — often either at his direction or without any intervention. 

In light of the serious accusations, Portnoy vehemently denied the claims, starting a #CancelBusinessInsider Twitter campaign and encouraging a witch hunt of the Business Insider journalist who reported out the story. 

Barstool Sports is a tainted organization founded by and supporting an alleged predator. For the dozens of students on Loyola’s campus advertising themselves as “Barstool Athletes,” here’s an accountability check. 

Barstool had always been mired in controversy surrounding assertions the organization perpetuates misogyny and toxic masculinity —  but until now, association with the company was still a grey area.

That’s no longer the case. Now is the time to dissociate from the company.

Over the summer, the NCAA began to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness — leading to a frenzy of sponsorships and deals being offered to athletes. Barstool quickly hopped on the trend, with hundreds of athletes adding “Barstool Athlete” to their Instagram bios — including some Ramblers. 

The Phoenix found at least 26 Loyola athletes advertising themselves as a “Barstool Athlete,” including some members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, women’s cross country team, men’s and women’s golf teams, men’s soccer team, men’s and women’s volleyball teams and the softball team. 

“How do you become a Barstool athlete? If you play Division I sports and you blink at me, we will sign you,” Portnoy said in a video on Twitter July 1. 

“Sign” is a bit of an understatement — according to the Barstool Athlete application, athletes must add “Barstool Athlete” to their social media bios to even be considered for the partnership — meaning athletes that advertise the company on their accounts may have never even had contact with Barstool. 

When The Phoenix was originally reporting on NCAA athletes being allowed to profit from their college career, Loyola Sports Information Director Bill Behrns told The Phoenix an athlete advertising themselves as a “Barstool Athlete” wasn’t actually getting anything for the partnership.

 “[The athlete] isn’t receiving compensation and hasn’t even received gear or anything, so there’s nothing for him to comment on with regard to any kind of deal with Barstool,” Sports Information Director Bill Behrns said in an email to The Phoenix Sept. 7.

So, Loyola athletes, you aren’t getting paid. Your public image isn’t being raised. You gain nothing from this association with a middle-aged misogynist who rates frozen pizza for a living. 

More than two-thirds of the students on this campus are women. Almost all of these women fall into the age range of the people who came forward. 

Loyola students support you, our athletes, with our tuition dollars and by cheering you on at games. 

Now, it’s time to support your classmates by showing them you don’t associate with a company that protects an alleged predator. 

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