ESPN “Sunday NFL Countdown” host Sam Ponder is not happy about the network's new partnership with Barstool Sports, a blog that has made sexist remarks about her in the past.
ESPN and Barstool Sports have partnered to create “Barstool Van Talk,” which features Barstool’s Dan Katz and PFT Commenter and is set to air Tuesday on ESPN2.
Before the show's premiere, however, Ponder reminded Barstool Sports of an offensive blog post, written about her, by sharing screenshots of it on Twitter.
She later clarified the writer of the post was Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, not Katz ( @BarStoolBigCat ). Feitelberg also co-wrote the article.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I have a voice. & even though it can be scary to use it sometimes, (as all my DMs right now confirm) if those of us who have a platform don’t use ours, those without one may not use theirs either.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 17, 2017
I was wrong in thinking @BarstoolBigCat wrote that article & called me a slut repeatedly. He just continuously laughed along. It was the PRESIDENT of @barstoolsports who said these things. Happy to clarify.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 17, 2017
Ponder did, however, reference a 2014 show in which she claimed members of Barstool Sports — including Katz — called her a “slut.”
Katz replied to Ponder that he didn't know what she was talking about.
And if he wants me to change the tweet to ALL of @barstoolsports sure. I’ll concede that it’s a whole company thing. But he also deleted his tweet to me & they removed the “she’s a slut” rundown. ♀️— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 17, 2017
That also never happened. I honestly have no idea what you're talking about at this point. But I'm going to walk away from this one because it's a no win for everyone.— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) October 17, 2017
The audio of Katz and Portnoy's 2014 rant about Ponder has started circulating on social media.
( WARNING: Audio is NSFW.)
Here's the deleted audio clip Ponder is talking about from 2014 pic.twitter.com/4YZFFeDTGD— Downwbstool (@bstoolhitjob) October 17, 2017
“I know for a fact that every day at ESPN, all the suits and all the lawyers they have their daily 9:15 coffee meeting on how can we fire Sam Ponder without being sued for discrimination,” Portnoy says in the clip. “She’s the worst. No person who watches ‘GameDay’ wants to see a picture of her and her ugly kid. Nobody cares, Sam Ponder. We want to see you sex it up and be slutty and not be some prude f--ing jerk who everybody hates."
“Show me one person who likes Sam Ponder," Katz added. "I don’t even think Christian Ponder likes (her)."
Burke Mag, ESPN's vice present of programming and scheduling, addressed the issue in a statement issued to For The Win .
"The comments about Sam Ponder were offensive and inappropriate, and we understand her reaction,” Magnus said. “She is a valued colleague and doing a great job for us. As stated previously, we do not control the content of Barstool Sports. We are doing a show with Big Cat and (co-host) PFT, and we do have final say on the content of that show.”
ESPN's Sage Steele also shared her support for Ponder on Twitter:
“Barstool Van Talk” will premiere Tuesday at 1 a.m. ET (10 p.m. PT) on ESPN2.
UPDATE: Ponder continued the discussion on Wednesday with some early-morning tweets.
1/4 Let me save some researchers time : I have been immature at times. I’ve been unkind. A gossip. Insecure. Prideful. Selfish. Legalistic. Self-righteous. & on & on. This is my story. My testimony. I’m not who I was. I didn’t have to stay that way.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 18, 2017
2/4 The sins & immaturity of my past do not mean I can never speak up for what is right & good. & I have no problem taking the heat that inevitably comes. “You hypocrite!” Yes, yes I have been one. Many times, actually. This is my story. A mess of a human, saved by grace.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 18, 2017
3/4 I can simultaneously admit my own flaws & failings & say yes, I am disappointed that we are promoting a company name that still maintains support for horrific personal attacks against multiple women within ESPN.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 18, 2017
4/4 I am speaking up not to say “I am perfect, be like me” but rather “where do we draw a line, what are our standards?” I don’t meet my own standards sometimes. This does not mean we throw the standard away. This means we get better. We speak up. We listen. We get better.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) October 18, 2017