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Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy Reveals Cancer During Stunning Admission

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It takes more than a little cancer to put a stop to Dave Portnoy.

The founder of the digital media company Barstool Sports made a surprise announcement Wednesday Night on Barstool Sports’ “The Dozen Trivia” program, according to the New York Post.

He casually dropped that he had battled the disease.

“A lot of pressure. This is all that matters. We’ve been waiting for all season,” said Portnoy before the trivia contest.

“I have cancer, by the way. No big deal.”

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Portnoy, who was wearing a bandage on his neck, had said earlier during his own “BFFs” podcast that he had undergone cancer treatment when a co-host had mentioned he appeared to have a scratch on his neck.

“Is that stitches?” the co-host asked.

Do you like Dave Portnoy?

“Yeah, cancer,” Portnoy said. “I beat it, though.”

“Skin cancer from laying in the sun all day and no sunscreen?” the co-host asked.

“Yep. So I had to get it [removed]. That’s why I didn’t go to the Celtics game,” Portnoy added.

It would take quite a bit for Portnoy, a supporter of all things Boston sports, to miss his beloved Celtics win the NBA Finals — although he seemed unfazed.

“It’s not scary, I added it to — I mean, it is, but it’s not — I added it to my list,” he continued. “I’ve had a heart attack, cancer, and stung by bees. Beat it all.”

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While I cannot avouch for the bee stings, Portnoy — known to his fans as “El Presidente” — suffered a heart attack in 2012.

The 47-year-old entrepreneur still doesn’t seem worse for wear and still posts his “One Bite” pizza reviews to YouTube regularly.

In a clip posted to X later in the evening Wednesday, Portnoy confirmed he had cancer in a video featuring fellow Barstool Sports staffer Rico Bosco, but added that people didn’t know because “I don’t make a big show of it.”

Portnoy started the controversial Boston-based Barstool Sports in 2004 after he quit his job in information technology.

“I knew I wanted to start my own business. I was a degenerate gambler, and I also knew I wanted to be in that field,” he told NBC News in a 2013 report.

The outlet started as a physical print edition but eventually morphed into a web presence, including podcasts and videos. While Portnoy often plays up his image as a boisterous, hyper-masculine sports stereotype, Barstool contributors say he’s anything but.

“El Pres is a character Dave plays. He’s one of the most regular, nondescript guys going, and I mean that as a compliment,” Barstool NFL writer Jerry Thornton told NBC for the 2013 report.

In 2023, Portnoy finalized the sale of Barstool Sports to the casino and sports-gambling company Penn Entertainment for a total of $551 million, according to Business Insider. He bought the company back for only $1 the same year, after the new owners ran into issues with gambling regulators.

He’s also waded into politics on more than one occasion.

In December, Portnoy, who is Jewish, told Fox Business that, thanks to “hate speech” on certain college campuses over the Israel-Hamas conflict, he would stop hiring from the Ivy Leagues.

“Not that this will make a huge difference, but moving forward I will not hire any student who graduates from any of these schools until these deans step down,” Portnoy said.

“More businesses should follow this lead. This is unacceptable on every single level. I don’t care if you’re Jewish or not either. If you know a Jew or just have a degree of basic human decency calling for the murder of an entire group of people should outrage you.”

And, more recently, Portnoy blasted “race-baiters” trying to turn WNBA star Caitlin Clark’s popularity into a social issue, noting the money the No. 1 draft pick is bringing in.

“How stupid are these other women, though?” he said. “How hating are they?”

It’s unclear whether he’s beaten cancer for good or what the prognosis is, but, in short: We’d ordinarily tell Dave Portnoy to get better soon from his bout with (hopefully) low-risk cancer. However, given the unfortunate choice of host it picked and that host’s capacity for fighting back hard and pulling no punches, maybe we ought to extend our sympathies to the cancer, instead.


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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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