Barstool Sports, known for crude humor and their aggressive fan base, decided to send their army towards the NWHL this week.
Since its founding in 2015, the NWHL has prided itself on the mantra “hockey is for everyone”, and for the most part tries its best to be inclusive and accepting of all. Therefore, many players have spoken out against Barstool, who have known credible allegations of repeated racism and sexism. Many NHWL supporters and employees have also voiced their concerns with Barstool CEO Erika Nardini’s interest in the league. Unprovoked, Nardini posted a video to her account with over 250,000 followers, then later addresses by Barstool President Dave Portnoy with over 2.2 million, with screenshots (not blurring out names) of NWHL players, employees, and supporters voicing their grievances with Barstool.
Like any rational adult would guess, it went poorly. Immediately the people mentioned were flooded with messages and tweets attacking and insulting them, some even sending threats. Hard to claim that your followers support the league when they are telling NWHL fans to kill themselves over 280 characters. These fine upstanding gentlemen known as “stoolies”, used every sexist and derogatory term to attack the NWHL. The few brave athletes of color that voiced their concerns publicly were harassed constantly and violently. Instead of trying to make peace and denounce the racist and sexist messages of their fans, Dave Portnoy posted a video where he called for players of color that spoke out to be arrested, because apparently if you don’t like Barstool, that’s slander and libel (it’s not). Erika Nardini, resident
high school bully girl boss, made herself out to be the victim of only showing her support, when hours later she announced she would be starting her own league, with hopes to cancel the NWHL. She has since continued to milk the NWHL for all it’s worth and making sure to be the victim who cried wolf as long as possible. Nardini has posted multiple videos talking about it, dozens of tweets, and has even gone so far as to create an account for the “Barstool Women’s Hockey League” and has already released her own merch, proving further that Barstool is all about money and not about people.
Erika Nardini is having a good old laugh and making a profit off of the suffering of several NWHL players, employees, and fans. They are still being harassed. Barstool fans are actively seeking their tweets and accounts out. They are calling for the boycott of the league and hoping it will fail. It is all one big joke to them, when there are real people in danger, not feeling safe in their own community, on their own teams. If she really wanted to see the league thrive, she would end this and denounce her supporters that are harassing people.
Hockey is not really for everyone. Because bigots, racists, and sexists, are not welcome. The NWHL has the potential to be something really great, and they don’t need any bigots help or money. For now, it is time for us to listen to the people of color in the league and do our best to support them. The players that have voiced their support for Barstool need to realize that their actions are harming their fellow teammates and immediately right those wrongs. The league needs to standby their players of color, and need to do their absolute best to be as inclusive as they advertise they are.
The NWHL does not need, nor should it want, support from a company with a long history of bigotry and discrimination, and one that allows for employees to engage in targeted harassment of individuals.
I’ve been a woman on the internet for over a decade, I’ve heard it all. Barstool fans do not scare me nor do I care for the opinions of bigots. But feel free to rage read this, it gives me more views and engagement!