Dave Portnoy at a June 3, 2021 fight announcement. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Portnoy insists Barstool Sports isn’t being run by “woke overlords” amid concerns over a bubbling rift between him and Penn Entertainment.

Wednesday morning, Portnoy announced he was hiring former Barstool personality Ben Mintz as the first employee of his Brick Watch Company. The hire came less than one month after Penn Entertainment fired Mintz from Barstool Sports for saying a racial slur while reading a song lyric during a livestream.

Portnoy hiring Mintz after Penn fired him seemed like it may have been a slight at Barstool’s parent company. But Wednesday afternoon, Portnoy insisted that wasn’t the case.

“By the way everything I say or do nowadays is construed as me having beef with [Penn] I 100% do not,” Portnoy tweeted. “Most of my net worth is still tied to [Penn]. The corporate woke overlord narrative is bull****. They woulda never bought us in 1st place if that was true. I trust them now as much as when they bought us.”

After reading a racial slur on a livestream, Mintz apologized and called it an “unforgivable mistake.” While it seemed like there was no malicious intent behind the mistake, Penn fired Mintz, fearing regulators might revoke the company’s gambling licenses if they stood by an employee who used the N-word. Malicious or not, it’s very hard for a company to keep an employee who said the N-word or something that sounds like the N-word, even if they aren’t owned by woke overlords. Especially a company with a history of racially insensitive incidents.

Portnoy, however, didn’t hide from the fact that he strongly disagreed with firing Mintz, believing it went against the principles he built Barstool on, but after Penn completed their purchase of Barstool earlier this year, it was no longer his decision to make.

Hiring Mintz shortly after he was fired by Penn was construed by many as Portnoy attempting to send Barstool’s parent company a message. Conversely, with 20 months remaining on his contract to continue as the face of Barstool, Portnoy insists he’s still getting along with Penn.

[Dave Portnoy]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com