Barstool Sports founder and president David Portnoy joined Fox Nation‘s “Tucker Carlson Today” on Monday for a wide-ranging discussion about everything from his sports media organization, to Wall Street, to his apparent lifetime ban from National Football League events and property.
The latter stems from an incident that led to the arrest of Portnoy and two of his colleagues for trespassing — after they handcuffed themselves to a desk inside NFL HQ on Park Avenue in New York City, where they demanded to speak to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about his suspension of then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over the ‘DeflateGate‘ scandal.
The activities earned Portnoy a ban, and he told host Tucker Carlson he still has not spoken with or engaged in any way with Goodell who has been the leader of the league since the retirement of Paul Tagliabue in 2006.
On Fox Nation, Portnoy said Goodell indeed “came from a good family,” but turned out to be one of the “least self-aware humans of all time” and a decidedly unimpressive sports executive.
Carlson asked whether Portnoy could go a day without “tossing a grenade into Roger Goodell HQ every day.”
Portnoy responded that his beef with Goodell seems to be more of an issue on the commissioner’s end, in that he would be happy just to see Goodell have a laugh about their feud, or “acknowledged [Barstool Sports] existence.”
He added, however, that he stands by his criticism of Goodell’s handling of DeflateGate, adding that he was more informed on the allegations than the commissioner was:
“Goodell had no proof — he changed the rules, he was out to get [Brady],” said Portnoy. “From [the handcuffing incident] on, it escalated… culminating in me getting dragged out of the SuperBowl in handcuffs — even though I had tickets to that SuperBowl.”
In 2019, Portnoy reportedly made it into the media area at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where the Patriots were playing in the SuperBowl against the Los Angeles Rams. He was also sporting an “I Heart Goodell” hat, according to reports at the time. He was ejected due to being proactively banned from the premises during the event.
More recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, Goodell initiated a fundraising drive wherein the highest-bidding donor would be awarded the opportunity to watch an NFL game with him at his home in Maine.
“Roger Goodell was then trying to raise money for front-line workers,” recalled Portnoy of the 2020 drive.
Goodell, however, balked when Portnoy’s $250,000 donation ended up being the winning bid.
“He denied it,” he said. “He gave me the money back; I don’t think he ever gave the money to the front-line workers.”
Carlson responded: “You gave 1/4 million dollars to watch football with Roger Goodell?”
Portnoy nodded, adding that if Goodell would even today acknowledge the feud or his media outlet, the tiff would essentially be over — but described the commissioner as too hard-headed to apparently do so.
At the time, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Portnoy failed a background check, connected to his trespassing conviction at league headquarters and falsifying press credentials to enter the Falcons’ stadium during one of the Patriots’ championships.
“He consented to the background check, and it came back and he heard from the NFL today that he did not pass the background check. He will not be the winner,” McCarthy told SportsBusiness Daily.
Portnoy responded in a video at the time calling Goodell a “coward,” saying he won “fair and square.”
“If he at any point in this 5-year saga acknowledged our existence, poked a little bit of fun at it, he’d kind of win — ironically he gave us this ‘outsider renegade’ vibe that has helped us very much,” he told Carlson on Monday.
“It made it seem like ‘NFL & Roger Goodell’ versus little old Barstool,” Portnoy said.
Portnoy added that, after the incident at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the NFL later tried to have him ejected from a victory party hosted by the New England Patriots.
He described watching the game from a holding cell, and later being stopped by NFL security after entering the nearby hotel where the party was going on.
“NFL security tried to kick me out of the hotel,” he recalled, adding that Jonathan Kraft, son of team owner Robert Kraft, had given him personal tickets to the event.
The NFL security staff then called Kraft, Portnoy said, as they were ejecting him.
“Who’ve you got — ‘Dave’ — He stays,” Portnoy recounted, adding that he has had a great relationship with Kraft and his family for many years.
Goodell, on the other hand, is “the most overpaid human of all time,” according to Portnoy.
“He’s basically a 40-million-dollar punching bag for when things go wrong…. he just kept the train on the tracks, came from a good family — got in at the right point.”
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