PFT Commenter Screen grab: Pardon My Take

Dating back to last year, Barstool Sports’ PFT Commenter has performed a running bit in which he shares obviously fake stories from what he calls his “premium plus” subscription from The Athletic.

The stories are written in the same font and in a writing style similar to what often appears in the outlet. But the contents are obviously fake. One output alleged that Kevin Durant had requested a trade to the Washington Wizards, while another displayed President Joe Biden discussing his fantasy football team.

While PFT Commenter — real name Eric Sollenberger — doesn’t do the bit often, the Las Vegas Raiders’ firing of head coach Josh McDaniels provided him with the perfect opportunity to write fan fiction about one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchises. And that’s exactly what the Pardon My Take co-host did, penning a two-paragraph faux story about McDaniels showing up at the Raiders headquarters dressed as team owner Mark Davis for Halloween before being fired via fortune cookie.

A sampling:

Davis seemed to take it in stride- at first. He appeared to laugh, and even ordered his now-trademark P.F. Changs lunch delivered to Coach McDaniels to “complete the look.” After the two had eaten, Davis suggested McDaniels read his fortune cookie, which read “you’re fired, hotshot,” according to multiple sources who viewed the dessert.

Obviously, this is a ridiculous and clearly fake story and The Athletic Premium Plus isn’t even a real thing. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop many — including some members of the media — from running with it as if it were true.

It’s hard to decipher what’s crazier: that several people expressed initial skepticism about the story but proceeded as if it were true anyways? Or that the Raiders’ reputation is such that several people immediately accepted this story as fact? Either way, this particular dispatch of “The Athletic Premium Plus” seemed to catch on, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more editions in the near future as a result.

[PFT Commenter]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.