ESPN turned some heads when it announced that it had decided to cancel Barstool Van Talk, a weekly late night show staring Barstool Sports personalities Big Cat and PFT Commenter on ESPN2. It wasn’t necessarily a surprise that the show had gotten canceled — right before it aired, ESPN’s Sam Ponder unveiled some disturbing comments made about her on the site a few years back — but it was surprising that ESPN pulled the plug after one episode.
This all begs the question: Why? ESPN president John Skipper claimed he “erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content,” but the show’s title literally had the word “Barstool” in it, so that seems like an argument that doesn’t hold water.
Richard Deitsch and Chris Chavez of Sports Illustrated got some insight into what went down within the halls of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and as it turns out, it was a stream of emails from ESPN staffers who lobbied against the partnership that appeared to be the final straw.