Years ago, Barstool Sports made derogatory remarks about Sam Ponder, Ponder insulted Jenn Sterger, and ESPN allegedly sexually harassed Sterger. What does all of that equate to? PFT Commenter and Big Cat losing a television opportunity on ESPN2.
The past two weeks, skeletons were dug up, embarrassing stories shared, and partnerships destroyed. One day after ESPN questioned the morals and inner workings of Bartsool, former NY Jets’ sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger, took to Twitter sharing her job interview experiences at the worldwide leader in sports. Sterger explained that although she hates how Barstool treats women, ESPN’s got plenty of skeletons in their own closet. She mentioned that while interviewing with the company she was subjected to inappropriate conduct which included attending a strip club and enduring sexual advances from a network decision maker.
“We have no record of this ever being brought to our attention,” ESPN said in response to Sterger’s accusations. “We thoroughly investigate all allegations brought to us. Fostering a professional and respectful workplace is a top priority for ESPN and we always encourage people to report any issues.”
Sterger also called out women in the sports media who took aim at Barstool, reminding them of how they responded to her after she was involved in a public issue with former NFL quarterback Brett Favre. Two of those women she took issue with are Sam Ponder and Sarah Spain.
“Some of the women that have spoken out against Barstool are now some of the biggest and loudest champions of this movement of honest and women standing up for ourselves. But need I remind some of them, that when the time came to defend me a few years ago, they were the first ones to say ‘I asked for it,’ ‘look how she dresses,’ and ‘she probably just wants money,’” Sterger said.
“Support other women all the time. Not when it fits your f–king agenda. It was just as easy to support me back then as it is to back these victims today.”
Whether the alleged claims by Sterger are true or not, this isn’t the first time ESPN has been accused of inappropriate frat house-like behavior behind the scenes. Sterger’s motive was to point out the hypocrisy in ESPN portraying a clean image and disconnecting themselves from the Barstool brand despite having their own set of internal behavioral challenges. Barstool on the other hand may display frat house style sense of humor but that doesn’t mean the company tolerates sexual harassment. That’s why they’ve tried distancing themselves from the conversation.
ESPN canceled Barstool Van Talk because the network was unable to separate the show from the Barstool brand less than one week into its tenure. Sam Ponder’s justifiable criticisms of Barstool along with concerns regarding the websites’ unfiltered nature, factored into the reason ESPN did not want to be associated with Barstool.
The only involved party that didn’t involve in any wrongdoing or criticisms of another is the former hosts of Barstool Van Talk. After bringing a unique show to the network with a successful debut, and attempting to avoid the mudslinging, PFT Commenter and Big Cat are out at ESPN. For now, ESPN’s back and forth on accepted content and employee conduct policies leaves their audience confused.