Pres just blogged about this and I’m not normally enough of an egomaniac to think people care about my Twitter squabbles, but enough people asked for a blow-by-blow recap so here we go:
Meet Travis Hughes. He’s a hockey writer for SB Nation, mostly blogging under their Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey. I hadn’t heard of him, maybe you have. Doesn’t really matter. The reality is a lot of these guys like taking shots at Barstool. Feitelberg pointed it out with Harrison Mooney a few weeks ago after it was revealed Mooney was scummily creeping on girls on Twitter, for whatever reason they look at us like the septic tank of the Internet and for someone like me whose major part of the job is helping Barstool grow — regardless of how people think about us approaching that in the last few weeks — it gets pretty tiresome.
Friend of Barstool and sports blogging person of note A. Isaac sent me the tweet this morning and I didn’t think it was worth going after the guy about. People shit on Barstool to feel better about their career choices, fine. We’re an easy target for people who don’t really get what we do. But then he continually tried to make something of it, just attention whoring at Barstool’s expense to get his overly liberal followers to go, “Yeah, Trav! You show ‘em!”
And our Stoolies on Twitter went after him. The thing I’ve grown to understand about our readers is that they love to rally to these causes. But they often make things worse when people come at Barstool, calling people “fags” and whatever other epithets come to mind. It comes from a good place, we know, but it does often feed into their whole “What a bunch of cretins” angle the anti-Barstool voices take. However this time the replies hit the Barstool Sports Twitter stream and they were…shockingly eloquent and/or funny.
But Travis couldn’t live with the idea that maybe just MAYBE Barstool is a comedy site that does good things and has readers who appreciate its many different takes on Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and, on occasion, sports. So after reading what was actually being said, in an effort to get more of the “Barstool? Boo hiss!” crowd on his side, he lobbed something I knew had no shred of truth to it:
It’s a default argument against Barstool. According to the haters, our audience consists of mouthbreathers who immediately lob caveman insults because they can’t think of anything else. We have our share of idiots — every website on Earth does, welcome to the Internet — but the bottom line is our audience is much smarter and loyal than we ever get credit for. So I decided to chime in:
Apparently Travis was unaware that Twitter and sites like Topsy have search features that show entire histories of at mentions.
At this point it’s worth noting that Travis Hughes does not subscribe to Pres’s rules of fashion. This guy fucking LOVES wearing undershirts with button downs:
I really wanted Travis to show those tweets that were so homophobic and awful that I knew didn’t exist. So I tried to bribe him using the one thing I knew about him:
Unfortunately, those gosh darn Tweets that definitely existed and showed how terribly homophobic and awful the Barstool readers are just weren’t coming.
It’s a bullshit excuse, the kind of thing you say when you know you’re wrong. When you’re a city blogger for a sport in its offseason, your timeline isn’t so congested that you can’t screengrab one or two things to completely shut me up. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who figured that out.
Travis may have been on the ropes but he wasn’t done. He had the trump card, the one EVERYONE loves to break out when they need to show Barstool’s wrong. Yep, the ol’ Pres skinny jeans blog:
The honest truth about that blog, as I see it? I hate that it exists. When the Sam Ponder bullshit happened and the world tried to shit on Barstool, that was tweeted out by every SB Nation douche around. It looks bad. And honestly it is bad without the context of other blogs that week showing what Pres was talking about with KO Barstool and whatever other controversies of the week. It pains me that I have to explain it to people but, moreso, it pains me that people don’t understand what it’s like to run a site like Barstool. How many jokes do you think Pres has made over the ten-ish years of Barstool? Has to be in the hundreds of thousands, right? When you’re putting out content at that volume, there are bound to be at least handful of things that you’d like off the table.
But really what breaking that blog out means when you’re an outside party attacking Barstool is that you’ve been beaten. You have no more arguments, you’ve been rebuffed or caught in a lie, you break out the skinny jeans blog. It’s another easy way to show Barstool is the devil and you’re just guarding the Internet from the Hellraiser box that is this site. It’s lazy and unoriginal and, combined with this tweet, revealed exactly the kind of person we were dealing with:
A thing to know about me is that I’m an easy-going person with very little stress or concern…except with things like this. Just something about people A) Shitting on Barstool without cause and B) Continuing to take a moral higher ground when lying through their teeth. So, naturally, I took his little signoff as time to completely lay into him, snoop his Facebook, and generally be an awful person at the expense of his @ mentions.
Thankfully, others were willing to be a sociopath along with me, gleefully attacking a person we’ll never meet or never remember by tomorrow morning.
He hasn’t tweeted since even though I tried really hard to win him back as a friend:
I’m sure in the future Travis Hughes will claim that he was right, we were wrong. He was an innocent man pointing out the drain on the media that is Barstool and we cyberbullied him until he coolly walked away to enjoy a few bikini ‘tinis.
But this is the thing guys like this don’t get. Barstool was built on being a place people actually want to read. This site didn’t grow because of SEO or a sick content management system or partnerships. Pres, KFC, and everyone else at Barstool didn’t need to raise over $60m from investors to make people give a shit about the site. They did it through being funny, being interesting, and being different than every other site out there. Regardless of how long you’ve been a reader of Barstool, no matter how many times you visit each month or comment or how many “VIVA” pics you send us on Twitter, you’re a part of this community. For some of us, this is a place to escape from a shitty work day. For others of us, this is a place we’ve put our careers in the hands of. You fight for the team you’re on and when people come at Barstool with less than valid claims, you’ve got to stand up for what being a Stoolie is all about. Barstool is the online personification of “open hand, closed fist” and every time we have one of these squabbles, it’s a perfect reminder that no matter how big Barstool gets or how many cities there are, we believe in one thing: