Sep 7, 2017

Barstool Sports targets Roger Goodell with 70,000 clown towels

The NFL season kicks off tonight in New England with a game broadcast on NBC, but the sports world buzz is about a different media company that views itself more as a league antagonist than partner: Barstool Sports.

Barstool, which was founded in Boston before relocating to New York after being purchased by The Chernin Group, is working with volunteers to distribute 70,000 towels emblazoned with the image of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a clown, ahead of the first regular season game Goodell has attended in Foxborough since he suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in over-inflating footballs.

Axios asked Barstool CEO Erika Nardini how she views the stunt's return on investment for the company. Her reply:

"We didn't do it for return on investment. We did it because we love Boston and Patriots Nation, and still feel really connected there and it was what we could do to help the cause. It helps us be connected to Boston which has high ROI."

Running scared: Goodell reportedly has decided to avoid being near the field once most fans begin arriving, and also won't sit in the box of Patriots owner Robert Kraft (where he would be highly visible, and likely shown both on television and on in-stadium screens).

The big unknown: How many of these towels will actually make it into the stadium. The more that do, the higher the chances that the NFL's leader will be embarrassed on his league's opening night. At least one has already gotten through the gates:

Go deeper

The Humanity First push for a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Policy responses to the global coronavirus crisis have been every-country-for-itself and — in the case of the U.S. and China — tinged with geopolitics.

The flipside: The scientific work underway to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

Go deeperArrow5 mins ago - World

Trump attacks Schumer for impeachment in letter about coronavirus crisis

President Trump briefs reports on April 2. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of being "missing in action" during the coronavirus crisis, writing in a scathing letter on Thursday that Schumer's focus on the "ridiculous impeachment hoax" resulted in New York being ill-prepared for the pandemic.

Why it matters: It's a blistering response to Schumer urging Trump to assign a senior military officer to enforce the Defense Production Act to produce more medical supplies.

World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Novel coronavirus infections have hit the 1 million mark after "near exponential growth" that's reached "almost every country," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.

The big picture: The global death toll exceeded 50,000 on Thursday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported nearly 14,000 deaths. Governments around the world have introduced public health and economic measures to try and curb the impact of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 47 mins ago - Health