The ongoing disdain between Roger Goodell and New England Patriots fans came to a head when the NFL commissioner showed up at Gillette Stadium to kick off the 2017 NFL season during the Patriots-Chiefs game a couple weeks back. Goodell was greeted by a sea of blue towels that depicted him as a clown, courtesy of Barstool Sports, who reportedly handed out 70,000 of them before the game. The taunt was in response to Tom Brady’s four-game suspension last season over Deflategate and the way Goodell seemingly singled out the Patriots for punishment.
— Zesty NE Patriots (@zesty_patriots) September 9, 2017
While #OperationClownFace was a success in that the NBC camera crew couldn’t help but show the towels during the telecast, they weren’t featured by the NFL-friendly network.
After the game, fans took their towels home to become keepsakes and conversation starters. Except for at least one towel-owner, who apparently got Brady to sign one of them. The autographed towel was auctioned off for $6,500 at the Matt Light’s Celebrity Shoot-Out. SI.com confirmed with the Light Foundation confirmed that the towel was indeed sold.
— Scott Haavisto (@ScottyONE) September 19, 2017
If Brady did, in fact, sign the towel, it’s the latest salvo in the never-ending cold war between the star quarterback and the commish. With the suspension served and (presumably) no infractions for Goodell to punish him for, it seems like the two will be left to snipe at one another in various ways so long as they’re both associated with the league.
The only missed opportunity here was that no one told Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy the towel was being auctioned. He wrote afterward that “I would have gladly paid 10k to get my towel back. Because this would legit be the best memorabilia piece I could ever own.”