NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared before the House Oversight Committee‘s hearing about the Washington Commanders Wednesday morning and at least one congressman couldn’t stick to the task at hand.
During the hearing, which was supposed to focus on the alleged toxic work environment created by Commanders owner Dan Snyder, Ohio congressman Jim Jordan asked Goodell about Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.
“Why do you ban Dave Portnoy from NFL games?” the Ohio Republican asked. “He’s a journalist. In fact, he’s a sports journalist.”
Jim Jordan's questions for Roger Goodell
"Why do you ban Dave Portnoy from NFL games?"
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“I’m not familiar with that issue,” Goodell answered.
First of all, Dave Portnoy can be called and categorized a lot of things, none of which are “sports journalist.” But in case you similarly aren’t familiar with Portnoy vs. Goodell, the Barstool founder’s issues with the NFL go back to at least 2015 when then New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended over Deflategate.
At the time, Portnoy and other Barstool members were arrested outside league offices for staging a protest and refusing to leave the premises. Portnoy was arrested again in 2019 when he snuck into Super Bowl Media Day. And later that week, he was literally dragged out of the Super Bowl by security.
The feud escalated in 2020 when Portnoy won a charity auction to watch a game with Goodell, but his bid was later voided by the NFL after they claimed he failed his background check.
“I mean, he interviewed the President of the United States. Interviewed President Trump in the White House. Seems to me if you can get into the White House, you should be able to get into a football game – frankly, as a member of the press and the sports press,” Jordan continued. “You don’t know anything about that?”
“I don’t sir,” Goodell responded.
I’m not sure what the official status of Portnoy’s eligibility to attend NFL events is, but Goodell was under oath as he testified via Zoom on Wednesday and he’s certainly aware of the Barstool founder’s quarrels with the league. But Portnoy has attended NFL games as recently as last December. So it’s possible that he’s only banned from receiving a press pass, and not actually banned from NFL games, as Jordan presented and Goodell denied.
Regardless, the purpose of having Goodell testify Wednesday morning was to question him on the league’s investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace culture within the Washington Commanders organization. Congressman Jordan shifting the focus to Goodell’s relationship with Dave Portnoy is just another reminder of why nothing gets accomplished when politicians gather with a supposed purpose.