So in case you missed it the other day, ESPN abruptly canceled their newest weekly late night show, Barstool Van Talk, after merely one episode. Yep, you heard that right. It didn’t even last a full week. A tenure so short, it made the Mooch’s stint as White House Communications Director (Never Forget, btw) look like he was Ruth Bader Ginsburg or some shit.
So why did ESPN pull the plug so quickly on Barstool Van Talk? Was it because ESPN thought the content was too edgy? Was it because the ratings were bad? Was it because Big Cat’s face was too fat for the camera and people couldn’t decide whether or not PFT Commenter is actually a woman?
Well, believe it or not, none of these were the actual reasons for canceling the show. Instead, it was all because ESPN couldn’t quite “distance” themselves from Barstool Sports (i.e. rumor has it that Sam Ponder, Sarah Spain, and a few other ESPN employees had such a shitfit that they threatened to walk out unless ESPN removed itself from its relationship with Barstool).
Here was ESPN President John Skipper’s official statement:
So let me get this straight. A company so desperate to capture market share in the 18-34 male demographic that it hired two of the biggest up-and-coming names in sports media/comedy to host a late night TV show then goes on to cancel said show after five days all because a few ESPN employees had personal vendettas against the talent of the show (or to be more specific, Barstool Sports).
<Insert palm in face emoji.>
That’s sort of like ordering a steak at a restaurant then sending it back because it’s beef. It’s not like ESPN didn’t know what they were getting themselves into with Barstool. Let’s be frank here for a second. Barstool isn’t exactly squeaky clean. Everyone that’s the slightest bit familiar with them knows that. In fact, they’re far from it. But that’s the thing. They know it, and they embrace that fact. Like former Colts punter/current Barstool employee Pat McAfee said on Tuesday’s edition of Barstool Radio, Barstool Sports pitched him on three main selling points: they’re raw, authentic, and unfiltered.
Barstool Sports is a satirical comedy site that makes fun of anything and everyone, equally, including themselves. I honestly think that’s where a lot of people are missing the boat. Just because these guys (and girls!) say things that people may find offensive from time-to-time doesn’t make them scumbags. Again, 99% of it is in the name of comedy. So maybe they’ve written and said a few things along the way they wished they hadn’t (like Dave Portnoy calling Sam Ponder a slut over three years ago, albeit in a satirical fashion). But you know what? Who hasn’t said things they regret? I have. You have. We all have. The difference is Barstool owns their mistakes. Whether or not they regret them, they’re upfront and honest about their imperfections. That’s a rarity in this day and age. People don’t like to admit they have flaws while at the same time pointing out others’. And quite honestly, that’s why Barstool is so successful (and growing 5x faster than their investors thought they originally would). While PC culture is taking control of the media landscape, Barstool remains a contrarian. Barstool says what everyone else is thinking, yet is too afraid to say. Whether you like it or not, at the end of the day, you don’t have to consume their content. Like Pat McAfee says, mute it if it disappoints you. Fill your day with that things that make you happy instead. Life’s too short to be mad all the time.
Which brings me to my next subject. Hating on Barstool every day has to be absolutely exhausting. Being a huge Stoolie, I see it every single time I log on to twitter. And I have to admit, it’s pretty fucking annoying at times. Every day people nitpick things they don’t like about Barstool (which often times is inaccurate) and go on self-righteous rants. I’ve gotten somewhat used to it along the way, but never have I ever seen it worse than it was this past Monday after Barstool Van Talk got canceled. People everywhere were crawling out of the woodwork to publicly bash Barstool’s “failings” with their two cents. And to be quite honest, most of it was complete bullshit. For starters, it was astonishing to witness some people label Big Cat and PFT as misogynistic employees who work at Barstool Sports. Of all of Barstool’s content employees (and let’s be clear that none of them are misogynistic in the first place whether you agree with that fact or not), these two are the closest to being PC as Barstool gets. They never go too far with their humor, and they have a good rapport with basically everyone they’ve ever worked with. If you don’t believe me, just check out their wildly successful podcast, Pardon My Take. There’s a reason why these guys made it on ESPN in the first place. To throw them under the bus because you have an issue with Barstool, the company, is not only closed-minded, but unfair to them, too. These guys didn’t deserve this. But here’s the funny thing: this is probably the best thing that probably could’ve happened to the PMT guys, and Barstool, as a whole. Through the midst of the firestorm, they’ve proven they aren’t the only ones who have skeletons in their closet. And at the end of the day, the cream will always rise to the top. Content is king. And Barstool creates good, authentic content. They’ll be just fine regardless if that’s going to make you upset and attack them in the future.
P.S. – I feel like it’s necessary to explain my background a little bit. If I’m being 100% honest, before I became a fan of Barstool, I was a Deadspin fan. In fact, I read them every day for about five years. But then as the years went by, it became more and more evident to me that their content began suffering in the name of virtue signaling and skewed political agendas. Enter, Barstool Sports. A refreshingly authentic sports/pop culture blog without any of that holier than thou, self-righteous nonsense. I immediately became a huge fan, and to be honest, it’s the sole reason I started blogging myself. If these guys can make me a little bit happier each day while I waste away at my miserable desk job, I too, feel like I can do the same for others in the same situation as me. Again, life is too short to be angry all the time. Do things that make you happy and quit trying to mold the world to cater towards your belief system. Now with that said, go ahead and watch this Mike Fetters gif, which will make your day infinitely better.