Virginia Tech beat writer Andy Bitter left the Roanoke Times earlier this year to cover the team for The Athletic. BH Media Group, which owns the Roanoke Times filed a lawsuit against Bitter to retake control of his Twitter account @AndyBitterVT. The paper claims the account was inherited from its previous Virginia Tech beat writer Kyle Tucker, and this was its own intellectual property. Bitter countersued claiming defamation and was seeking $150,000 in damages.
Today Bitter announced on Twitter that he and his former employer were dropping their suits against one another and that he would be keeping the @AndyBitterVT Twitter account.
An announcement … pic.twitter.com/JTbksllxYU
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) November 15, 2018
While it is nice to see cooler heads prevail and a truly odd issue dropped in favor of both sides focusing on doing good work, Sean Keely of Awful Announcing points out that the lawsuit brought up a lot of questions for reporters, and the two sides agreeing to drop the respective suits in favor of an agreement to play nice leaves those questions unanswered.
Can a separate company “own” a username on a different company’s platform? And does it have the right to tell an employee to give it up when they leave the company even though they have been the one in charge of it the whole time? It also made a lot of reporters wonder if they needed to rethink the way they disseminated information on social media. Would you have to get an entirely new Twitter handle every time you change employers? What if you started the Twitter handle first, then joined a company, but later left for a rival company. Does that original employer have any rights to the account?
Ryen Russillo: ‘Why Would You Talk About Politics On Your Sports Show?’
“Why would you talk about politics on your sports show? Now people could say ‘Hey this is more important. This is more important than sports’.”
Ryen Russillo joined Barstool’s Pardon My Take podcast in studio, and shared an interesting story about a sign at ESPN Radio that shaped what he talked about during his time with the network.
“When I was first at ESPN, so ’06, there was a sign up in the radio department that said ‘If what you’re talking about is not interesting to an 18-45 year old male, stop talking about it’,” Russillo revealed. “For the old rules, why would you talk about religion on your sports talk show? Why would you talk about politics on your sports show? Now people could say ‘Hey this is more important. This is more important than sports’.
“Well, no shit this stuff is more important than sports. But you know what? They don’t talk about sex trafficking on (CNBC). Because that show’s about money. Those shows are about finances and all this other stuff. Is it as important as all these other horrible things that happened? Of course it isn’t. But that’s not what the job is. So that’s where I think again — this is expanding into a much bigger deal — I’d love to talk about some of this stuff, but I know I can’t win no matter what I do.”
Later in the episode, Russillo discussed how proud he was of his Brandon Marshall interview. Russillo had confirmed former Pro Bowl wide receiver and I Am Athlete co-host Brandon Marshall to appear on his podcast. When the interview time rolled around, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall appeared on the screen. The former ESPN Radio host asked the linebacker a few questions before ending the interview. The podcast aired both interviews with both Brandon Marshall’s.
Penn National To Acquire Barstool Sports In Full
“Bloomberg reports that the two step process will be completed by February.”
Penn National Gaming made its initial investment in Barstool Sports in 2020, paying $161.2 million for a 36% stake in the content factory. Just a few years later, the casino company will acquire the remaining shares.
The relationship with Barstool has had ups and downs for Penn National.
A Business Insider report dropped in December accusing Barstool founder Dave Portnoy of sexual misconduct with multiple women caused serious headaches for Penn National. Portnoy denied any wrongdoing, saying all of the incidents detailed in the piece were consensual. He has also filed a defamation suit against the publisher.
Jay Snowden, the company’s CEO, encouraged investors to be patient. That didn’t stop the reaction though. Penn National lost over $2.5 billion in value and drew the attention of regulatory boards in Nevada and Indiana.
Still, the relationship with Barstool is one the casino company wants to keep. The company has found value in using the brand’s name to attract a younger audience to its sportsbooks. The Barstool name has been used on other venues and products inside of Penn National’s casinos as well.
Barstool podcasts and videos give Penn National a valuable, proprietary means of advertising. Plus, the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl and the Barstool Classic in Philadelphia, put Penn National in the live sports business.
Penn National has an option to acquire the rest of Barstool for another $387 million. Bloomberg reports that the two step process will be completed by February.
Dana White Calls ESPN Writer a “F—ing Scumbag”
“It wasn’t a serious interview,” White said. “It was a fun, f—ing edited piece…”
UFC president Dana White did not hold back when talking about a recent piece by ESPN, which claimed in the story headline that White said fighters would not be getting pay raises.
White did an interview with GQ last week and answered a Twitter question about UFC fighter pay. He said fighters “get paid what they’re supposed to get paid. They eat what they kill. They get a percentage of the pay-per-view buys and money is spread out amongst all the fighters.”
White prefaced those words by saying boxing is not what it used to be on account of money and other issues. “It’s never gonna happen while I’m here,” he said, which was meant to be interpreted that he would never allow pay to force the UFC to become like boxing.
“Do you think I’m going to sit here and say, ‘Fighter pay will never go up while I’m here.’ That’s the dumbest f—ing thing I’ve ever heard,” White told Yahoo Sports. “And do you know how stupid you have to be to think that’s what I said in that interview when I was talking about boxing?”
White was fired up mainly because ESPN took words he said in what was supposed to be a fun and light interview with GQ and, in his opinion, changed the context to create a more salacious story.
“It wasn’t a serious interview,” White said. “It was a fun, f—ing edited piece, and ESPN, the leader in sports, is going to write a story on fighter pay based off that f—ing video? Give me a f—ing break.”
Marc Raimondi, who covers MMA for ESPN, wrote the article in question. White didn’t know that, but he made it clear he was pissed off about the piece.
“I didn’t see the story,” White said. “I don’t even know who wrote it, but you’re not a journalist. You’re a f—ing scumbag.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.