Barstool Sports mogul Dave Portnoy fired back at a New York Times reporter on Monday after he revealed messages that contradicted her claims he did not provide responses to her series of questions as part of a greater “hit piece” she reportedly compiled over several months.
The Times published a critical article putting a spotlight on Portnoy’s ties to the sports betting industry. Reporter Emily Steel listed a variety of controversies the Barstool chief has found himself wrapped up in over the past two decades in what appears to be an attempt to paint him as the wrong person to push legalized sports gambling.
Portnoy, who underlined he is not an inherently political person, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday he reached out to Steel around April and that he knew about the piece – which he characterized as “an investigation” – for more than a year.
“When I heard about, I said, let’s sit down – open-book. I will answer any question you have,” he said. “I don’t care what your politics are, how you sit — I am the witness of a story you are working on for basically a year and I am saying: ‘I will sit down with you. You can ask me anything. I’m not saying ‘lawyers in the room’. Nobody, just me.”
Steel, he said, had “no interest” in such a meeting, and that their correspondence went dark for a long time until the reporter suddenly proposed several questions with a short window to respond.
“Hey, we want all these answers to all these allegations in 48 hours,” he recounted.
“It would be the equivalent, if this is a court case – because that’s what the Times is doing – [alleging] I’m a scumbag and trying to sway people — that you give one lawyer basically a year to present the entire case [and] you have 30 seconds now to defend yourself. Who would ever do that?”
Portnoy has been a subject of mainstream media ire for some time. Recently, Berks County, Pennsylvania-based gaming giant Penn Entertainment bought the remaining stake in Barstool and brought Portnoy to even higher prominence.
“[Steel] never wanted to hear how we do responsible gaming training at our company. It was all a hit piece, and she had no interest in hearing my side of the story,” Portnoy said.
“[Steel] never had interest in telling the truth. All she wanted to do was build a case against me. She never talked to any of my friends, anybody who would advocate.”
In a recent request for comment for a separate story on Portnoy, a Times spokesperson told Fox News Digital that “more than a week before the article published, we presented Mr. Portnoy with an opportunity to answer detailed questions related to our reporting, which was thorough and fact-based.”
“Although he declined to provide any answers, we did include his sentiment in the story itself, despite his claims to the contrary,” the spokesperson said.
Portnoy called the Times a “liberal rag,” while lamenting the fact he’s “become politicized a little bit.”
“Listen, I don’t care if people don’t like me — I really don’t. All I’m saying is give people the full picture,” he said.
Portnoy has made waves over the years especially in regard to the NFL. He was once kicked out of Super Bowl media day, was denied the ability to watch a game with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell despite winning an auction to do so, and was detained at the league’s New York headquarters for protesting the suspension of then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
The feud even made its way to Congress, where House Judiciary Committee member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, recently pressed Goodell on “ban[ning] Dave Portnoy from NFL games” despite his role as a member of the press.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.