New Zealand Breakers CEO Matt Walsh is defending a decision to have a controversial website as a sponsor on the club's team singlet.
Barstool Sports, a sports and pop culture blog based in the US, has been criticised in the past for offensive content. The site's founder Dave Portnoy has landed himself in hot water regularly, including for a comment on the site suggesting size six women who wear skinny jeans deserve to be raped.
Portnoy was recently accused of allegedly promoting social-media harassment towards female sports writers.
The Breakers featured a Barstool Sports logo on the team's uniform when they faced NBA side the Phoenix Suns last week and it will remain on the singlet for the Australian National Basketball League season which starts on Thursday.
Breakers CEO Matt Walsh says there are no regrets with the Barstool Sports partnership. Walsh says Barstool Sports employees may say things he doesn't agree with, but he's proud to be associated with the company.
"Barstool Sports is a comedy site that produces content 24/7, 365 days a year, based on satire. Do I agree with everything that they produce and all the content they produce? Absolutely not," Walsh told Newstalk ZB.
"I understand that they produce content and employees of their company may say things that I don't agree with but I don't believe that's what the partnership is about. At the core of them I know who those people are and I'm proud to be associated with a brand like Barstool because I know those guys and I know what they stand for."
Walsh leads a consortium that took over the Breakers from long-time club owners and directors Paul and Liz Blackwell in March, with Dan Katz, Eric Sollenberger and Henry Lockwood of Barstool Sports part of the new ownership group.
"We still stand for the same family values that we've had for the last 15 years," Walsh said.
Walsh has had a long-running relationship with the Barstool website, including Portnoy, who remains the public face of the company despite an endless archive of objectionable behaviour.
In 2010, Portnoy made the comment "[E]ven though I never condone rape if you're a size 6 and you're wearing skinny jeans you kind of deserve to be raped right?".
"We partnered with Barstool because I have a relationship with them and I believe that they're good people in their heart. If you look at the charity work they've done it's incredible.
"I don't agree with all of the comedy angles that they take. But at the end of the day Barstool Sports produces comedic content. And it's satirical in nature. It would be very easy to take quotes from any comedian in the world or a lot of different people and take stuff out of context, put it up and say 'Hey, aren't these people really bad people'. And I think that's what's happening here," Walsh said.