Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy ripped Roger Goodell on Friday after the league rejected his winning $250,000 bid to watch a “Monday Night Football” game with the NFL commissioner over a failed background check.
“Goodell’s out and we knew it was going to happen,” Portnoy said in an “emergency press conference” on his social media accounts. “You have cowards, you have mega cowards and then you have Roger Goodell. Don’t let me win it and then come up with this.”
Portnoy won an NFL auction earlier this month to watch a game with his longtime nemesis in his basement this fall. The NFL auctioned off the event to benefit a number of charities in the fight against COVID-19, including the American Red Cross and Feeding America.
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The NFL informed Portnoy this week that he had failed a required background check due to a number of incidents in his past, including falsification of Super Bowl press credentials in 2019 and his 2015 arrest during a protest at the NFL’s corporate headquarters in New York. As a result, the league said Portnoy’s bid will not proceed and he won’t be allowed to meet Goodell.
“He was the highest bidder, but the bid was contingent upon a background check,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Sports Business Journal. “So 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.”
The NFL will donate the $250,000 equally to six charities to aid COVID-19 relief efforts. A front-line worker will take Portnoy’s place.
Portnoy maintained all along that he didn’t expect the NFL to allow the meeting to happen.
“I’ve told everybody – Roger Goodell has no self-awareness, no sense of humor, doesn’t know how to deal with a brain like this and he can’t be the funny guy. … He’s the least funny human of all time,” Portnoy added. “He’s a yes man, he’s a puppet and he’s a coward, and this proves it.”
Portnoy repeatedly clashed with the NFL league office in years past. The media mogul emerged as a Goodell foe in 2015 during the “DeflateGate” scandal when the NFL took disciplinary action against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The Barstool Sports store sells several popular items that are critical of the commissioner, including a “Fire Goodell” hat and a T-shirt that depicts Goodell with a clown nose. In 2017, Portnoy distributed 70,000 towels with the image at a Patriots home game that Goodell attended.
Portnoy snuck into media week proceedings ahead of Super Bowl LIII in 2019. Days later, NFL security had Portnoy physically dragged out of the stadium.
Portnoy founded Barstool Sports in 2003 as a newsletter and has built it into a sports entertainment leader. Casino chain Penn National purchased a 36 percent stake in Barstool at a $450 million valuation in January 2020.