Dave Portnoy (L) and Gregg Doyel. Dave Portnoy (L) and Gregg Doyel.

In 2024, anything unusual that happens at a press conference is likely to become a story in its own right. The latest example of that came Wednesday with Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel’s interaction with No. 1 overall WNBA Draft pick Caitlin Clark at her first press conference with her new team, the Indiana Fever.

When he was called on to ask a question, Doyel replicated the heart hands gesture Clark often shows her family. And that led to an odd exchange, and to a remarkable accusation from Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy. First, here’s the video of what happened without any commentary:

Here’s a transcription of that:

Doyel: “Gregg Doyel, Indy Star. Real quick, let me do this. [Heart hands gesture.]”

Clark: [smiles] “You like that?”

Doyel: “I like that you’re here, I like that you’re here.”

Clark: “Yeah, I do that to my family after every game. Pretty cool.”

Doyel: “Well, start doing it to me, and we’ll get along just fine.”

That took a lot of criticism. But the most notable came from Portnoy, who tweeted out a Barstool piece on that by Jack McGuire headlined “Caitlin Clark’s Indiana Fever Career Begins With Gregg Doyel Being A Total Creep To Her At Introductory Press Conference.” And he did so with an accusation of Doyel being a “pervert”:

Doyel has taken significant criticism for this from other corners as well, and much of that has been a more thoughtful look at the wider issues at play here in coverage of women’s sports. But Portnoy’s reaction here is particularly notable considering how his comments often lead to a pile-on from Barstool fans, and his “pervert” language is remarkable (and might lead to some legal fallout).

As of 5:45 p.m. ET, Doyel had not yet tweeted about the criticism he’s taking, but he had previously tweeted his column on Clark’s media availability. We’ll see what comes from this.

Update: Doyel took to Twitter to apologize and teased he will have a column on the subject as well.

[Dave Portnoy on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.