Northwestern athletics is sucking up to Barstool, despite Barstool’s sexist comments about its own athletes

Northwestern University’s athletic department has always gone out of its way to suck up to Chicago media, because as a school with little athletics tradition and a small fan base, it has to if it wants to be noticed.

As one sports information official told me when I ran Inside NU, even if they hated my coverage, they couldn’t really get rid of me.

Now, Northwestern has turned its attention to Barstool Sports, misogynistic website that caters to immature, bro-y fans.

Barstool’s misogynistic, sexist, and anti-Semitic antics are well-established. I won’t run through an exhaustive list, because I have a paper to write, but Deadspin has put together a good list of all the reasons ESPN, like anyone else who’s friendly with Barstool, could not separate itself from the terrible culture. Plenty of others have written about how there’s “no defense” to working with the site.

Of course, Northwestern should know this. After Wildcats star Ashley Deary—the all-time NCAA steals leader—stopped mid-possession to tie her shoe in a game, Barstool simply referred to her as “Northwestern chick.”

The article didn’t even mention Deary’s name.

Defenders of Northwestern will claim, as many often do, that @BarstoolBigCat (aka Dan Katz), is somehow more palatable than the rest of Barstool, because he isn’t as outwardly misogynistic. But as fellow Northwestern alum Ben Goren explains, that’s preposterous when he’s one of the top two or three faces of the company. Katz doesn’t disavow any of the misogyny coming out of his company, which he showed when responding to an offensive story Barstool write about Sam Ponder.

Nowhere in Katz’s responses to Ponder does he even begin to broach how absurdly unacceptable that column is.

He’s far more interested in making sure that he can separate himself from the story. And it’s because he doesn’t actually care about how offensive that writing is. And if you are saying that you care about how Barstool treats [deep inhale] women, the LGBTQ+ community, Jews, all kinds of minorities and yet you’re supporting these guys? You don’t care enough.

More than almost any other industry, in the wide world of Online Media, you are who you work for. You take on that all that baggage. If someone packed up their bags at the New York Times and went over to Breitbart, you would know exactly what that says about them. Likewise, if someone went from the Washington Post to Gizmodo, you would know what that says about their ethos. Moving from anywhere to Barstool Sports tells you all you need to know about a person’s value system. And it tells you that you don’t need to pay attention to them anymore.

But Northwestern is paying attention to Barstool, because Northwestern wants more attention from Barstool and its audience. Northwestern wants to add to its $84 million in athletics revenue, even if that means sucking up to a company that can’t even show basic decency to Wildcat athletes, much less women and minorities in general.

Northwestern athletics’ values are directly proportional to how much money those values can earn. It seems they can be sold quite cheap.