Dave Portnoy Is The Small Business Hero America Needs

By Meghan Dillon··  6 min read
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Americans from all sides of the political spectrum agree on one thing: Congress did a horrible job on the stimulus bill and isn’t doing enough to help everyday Americans and small businesses. Since small businesses are the epitome of the American Dream, it’s truly heartbreaking to see so many hard-working Americans lose their business to the lockdowns.

It’s no secret that small businesses, many of which rely on face-to-face contact with customers, have suffered in the pandemic due to quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Many small businesses have been forced to get creative just to survive, but sometimes that’s not enough. If the situation wasn’t heartbreaking enough, it appears that the government would rather engage in partisan politics than help their constituents. 

Luckily, an unlikely hero came to save American small businesses just in time for the New Year, and that hero is Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.

Who Is Dave Portnoy?

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know Dave Portnoy is the founder and president of Barstool Sports (that’s why he’s called “el presidente” or “stool presidente”). He started Barstool in 2003 as a sports-based newspaper in Boston

Dave Portnoy started Barstool Sports in 2003 as a sports-based newspaper in Boston. 

As the media landscape began to grow, so did Barstool. With blogging, social media (their Instagram account is hilarious), videos, merch, and podcasts, Barstool is now one of the largest media empires. As they’ve grown, the genres of content have expanded as much as their mediums. Barstool is no longer strictly sports; they cover almost any area of popular culture you can think of, including comedy and popular reality shows like The Bachelor (their pop-culture podcast, Chicks In The Office, has hilarious Bachelor recaps). 

Barstool has had its fair share of controversies, but Portnoy’s approach to political correctness and cancel culture helps the brand thrive. While so many media outlets bow down to the woke mob, Barstool doesn’t. The late and great George Carlin once said, “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners,” and Portnoy gets this. Most of Barstool’s content is comedic or satirical, and we all know political correctness mixed with comedy leads to disaster.

For those (like myself) who have been following Barstool for several years and have noticed their massive growth in popularity and revenue, it makes sense that Portnoy is the perfect person to help out small businesses.

The Barstool Fund

Portnoy isn’t a political figure but is known for his honesty and speaking his mind. He posted a rant to his Instagram in early December about how devastating the effects of closing indoor dining in New York City would be on the bars and restaurants. He also called out the many hypocrisies of some coronavirus restrictions, and it’s a must-watch.

Shortly after Portnoy’s rant went viral, he took action and started The Barstool Fund, with the help of $500,000 of his own money and charitable donations to help small businesses survive until the pandemic is over. Portnoy started by helping the restaurant owned by the father of one of his employees and is offering to help other small businesses in need. Business owners can submit a request themselves or have a loved one nominate them, and Portnoy personally FaceTimes the business owner to tell them the good news. If watching these calls doesn’t warm your heart and restore some of your faith in humanity, I don’t know what else will!

As of writing this (January 3), The Barstool Fund has vowed to help 71 struggling small businesses across the country. The businesses range from restaurants, bars, salons, stores, health centers, dance studios, and any other small business you could think of. The fund also has over 138,000 supporters and has raised over $17.3 million dollars.

Everyone from average Americans to celebrity chef Guy Fieri (who has also helped raise millions of dollars for restaurants during the pandemic) has donated to The Barstool Fund. Though The Barstool Fund has received celebrity attention for their good deed, many media outlets seem to be silent about The Barstool Fund.

Why Isn’t This Getting Any Media Coverage?

Other celebrities like Beyoncé have also helped raise money for pandemic relief, but she seems to get more media coverage than Portnoy.

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s awesome that Beyoncé is going out of her way to help others in need during the pandemic. However, it’s strange that a media figure with millions of followers starts a fund that raises millions of dollars and receives little to no media coverage for it.

I’m not a mind reader, so I can’t tell you the exact reason why The Barstool Fund isn’t receiving much media coverage, but I have a couple of guesses. The first is that it’s not a secret that Portnoy isn’t the most politically correct media figure in the world. Some media outlets might be afraid they will get canceled for giving him praise, but your personal opinion of him doesn’t negate how much money he’s raising to help small businesses in need.

Some media outlets might be afraid they will get canceled for giving him praise.

The other theory is that you can’t acknowledge what Portnoy is doing without acknowledging that the federal government is failing to help the American people. While it’s a bitter pill to swallow that our government has failed us, the fact that a business owner has raised millions of dollars to do what the government should be doing is news-worthy. 

It’s also important to point out that the lack of media coverage of The Barstool Fund hurts small businesses. If more people know about The Barstool Fund, more people will donate. The more people donate, the more money there will be to help save small businesses. It doesn’t make much sense to avoid covering this story when you can help save a small business by covering the story.

Closing Thoughts

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hundreds of thousands of small businesses to close, and it’s heartbreaking that the government isn’t doing much to help. The fact that media mogul Dave Portnoy has gone out of his way to start a fund for small businesses is something to celebrate. A man who started a small business and worked his way up to achieve the American dream is going out of his way to help small business owners during an economic crisis. What’s more American than that?

To donate to The Barstool Fund, click here.

To submit a small business for The Barstool Fund, click here.

  Society  Coronavirus  Celebrities
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