Barstool Founder Dave Portnoy Challenges Bellisario Dean On Fox News

Update 1:20 p.m. September 24: Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy doubled down his challenge to Marie Hardin — the dean of Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications — on Monday morning.

“Hey I’d love to debate you,” Portnoy said in a tweet posted Monday morning that included a screenshot of Hardin’s comments to NBC. “I’ll come to Penn State for it. Or love to have you come on [Barstool Radio]. As the Dean of the PSU Communications school you should be willing to defend your comments no matter how ridiculous they are.”

The comments section of Hardin’s most recent Instagram post has been swarmed by fans of Barstool Sports. At the time of this update, the post has nearly 500 comments — most of which refer to her as a “clown.” Some of those comments include more hateful messages, and former NBA player Dennis Rodman was among those who commented in support of Portnoy.

Original Story: Just days after she was quoted in an NBC article criticizing Barstool Sports and its “persistence of traditional masculinity in sports culture,” Marie Hardin, dean of Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, drew the brunt of the reactionary firestorm from the site’s founder.

In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday night, Barstool founder Dave Portnoy responded to the criticism delivered by NBC’s Shannon Ho and academics like Hardin and Michigan’s Lisa Nakamura. Having studied gender in sports and the intersections of digital media with race, gender, and sexuality, respectively, Hardin and Nakamura were quoted as subject matter experts in an article about conservative ideology, sexism, and gender roles in sports.

Portnoy didn’t take kindly to their perspectives — challenging Hardin to a debate in her class — and neither did Carlson, who ended the interview by saying, “Don’t send your kids to college. That’s the lesson.”

“The dean of the communications school at Penn State, if you listen to what she said, I would never let my kid into her class,” Portnoy said. “What world is she in, saying sports-centric is going back in time? It is insanity. I am happy to debate it. I will go to your class, Marie Hardin. I will let you have the moderator. I will let you put your people in, and I’ll put you in a mental pretzel because you have no facts.”

Portnoy seemed to take offense at the perceived implications by Hardin that Barstool is at fault for being sports-centric and sexist. The quotes from Hardin that Portnoy was responding to are below, but they seem to be more critical of society itself than the popular sports media site, its focus, or its political lean.

  • “In many ways, Barstool has resisted some of the more progressive discourse around sports. And I think there’s a niche for that. There’s a market there and they’re able to capture that.”
  • “They will not have a reckoning until they no longer reflect a good portion of this country’s values. Is Barstool a reflection of our values or is it reinforcing our values? It reflects and reinforces — the only way Barstool could ever die is if it no longer reflects. But we’re not anywhere close to that as a culture.”
  • “Barstool would not exist if we did not have a spectator sports culture that positioned men and women in a certain way, in a way that we really take for granted. So many people don’t even think about the signaling about gender that spectator sports do every weekend on television. Those are things we aren’t thinking about enough as a culture — and Barstool would not exist without that.”

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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