Look, I'm not going to re-hash the whole Nicky Smokes story and drag this kid across the internet. Barstool Sports top blogger Karim (last name?) has already done that plenty.
If you don't know by now, then you probably don't give a shit. And if you don't want to read about him again, then stop reading now. I've already got your click. I'm well aware that 90% of the people reading this could give 2 fucks about who Nicky Smokes is. Or who Karim is. Or who I am. You just want to read blogs about Adam22 and Livvy Dunne then comment "I thought this was Barstool SPORTS" and pretend like you would rather read one of Greenie's, Damien Lillard blogs, even though there are MOUNTAINS of data that prove you just want the porn stuff. But that doesn't get you 33 up-votes in the comment section. Trust me, I understand how much 33 up-votes in the comment section can make your day. I wish I was being sarcastic, but sadly I'm not.
So it's either $100k and everybody hates you + you'll forever be under a microscope + your literal co-workers will talk about popping champagne bottles when you eventually get fired, OR you could make $75k (for instance), and...ya know...not have to deal with that.
It's hard to say which to choose. $25k is a lot of money. That could be the difference between having an in-unit washer/dryer, or having to walk down multiple flights of stairs to use the community laundry room. It could be the difference between a 10 and 30 minute commute to the office. The difference between feeding your dog IAMS or Science Diet. That's nothing to sneeze at. You can have one of the most important people in the company not hate you OR the convenience and being able to do laundry in the comfort of your home. Fuck man...idk...
But honestly, I can't blame the kid. It'd be a fucking insane business move to be offered a $100k salary and say, "No thanks, I'd actually rather make less." I'm not faulting him for that. I'm sure Nicky Smokes knows that a $100k salary comes with $100k expectations. I'm sure he's confident that by this time next year, he'll have enough Twitter followers, enough steam, and enough advertising dollars rolling in to be a staple of the company to a point where he's worth all if not more than the $100k per year that's being wired into his bank account.
And for everyone reading at home, you can say "Well John, aren't you in the same boat? You don't have many more followers. It's not like you're making fucking waves at Barstool or anything. Are you going to be able to do enough to get an extension? Glass houses, stones, pot, kettle, black, etc.
That's entirely fair. I'm not paid much less. I'm absolutely paid more than I'm worth, and I have no more juice than Nicky Smokes. But what y'all don't realize is that I'm playing with house money. My whole life I thought, "Damn...if I just got a job at Barstool, my life would be complete, and I'd be happy forever." Well guess what I learned over the course of my first year at Barstool? It doesn't matter. Happiness doesn't come from a job. I'm equally, if not less happy now than I was when I was selling cardboard boxes for Benchmark Industrial. I still have everyone who loves me, my friends, dogs, cats, all that shit. Sure, I no longer dread going to work. But I promise you guys, that doesn't just make you happy. You gotta figure that shit out internally. And honestly, I should be dead by now. The amount of drugs I've done? GTFO. When I'm telling you it's house money, I fucking mean it. So if I don't make it past my 3-year contract, then who gives a shit. I lived my dream for 3 years. I got to live in New York City like I've always wanted. I got to be in The Tungsten Federation of Greater New York with the people whose content I've been consuming daily for the past 5 years of my life, and they'll be my friends forever now. That's fucking incredible. I am perfectly happy no matter what. I'll sell a cardboard box to an Eskimo. I'll be great.
But does Nicky Smokes feel that way? Maybe he'll realize it after 6 months that's he's just as happy with or without this job like I did. Or MAYBE he's thinking right now that if he had a $75k paycheck instead, it would make him significantly more likely to be extended beyond 1-year, and it would have served him better than the $100k contract he has to live up to before his meeting with Erika 361 days from now to discuss whether or not he's worth keeping around. Turning 24k followers into 100k USD? On the back of Miami? The worst sports town in America? Sheeeeesh...
But he had no way of knowing that going in. I've seen the numbers thrown around by Stoolies regarding how much money we make. I almost guarantee when Dave offered him $100k per year, he thought that was base level. As a Stoolie, I would have too. It's very much not, but nobody really knows that going into this job. Dave could have given me any number between $40k-$200k and I would have said, "Yep that sounds fair. I'll see you in Manhattan next week."
I'll give Nicky Smokes credit though. At least he's owning it. Responding to KFC's video with "Should have bet Dave." is so wildly out of touch that I have to respect it. "Yeah guys, you should have just bet Dave, then you'd be making more money." Like every kid in the United States who wants a job in "sports" media isn't tweeting at Dave on a daily fucking basis begging for a job.
But even after all of that shit I just said. As much shade as I threw at him. He made it happen. He made enough noise on the internet to get Dave's attention. Dave responded to him and nobody else. And he won the bet fair and square.
And what the hell else is he supposed to do? At least he's not being a pussy about it. I wouldn't have had the balls to go at KFC in my first week on the job. I still don't. I wish I did. Maybe if I did I would be involved in more content. I'd probably be bigger. Maybe I would have gotten invited to the Barstool Awards Show next month along with Chris Klemmer.
There's no such thing as bad attention here. Take Marty Mush. The whole thing with Ria. That was fucking hell for him. He took more shit on the internet for dating a single woman than anybody I've ever seen. But that entire thing was a storyline. It was content for Barstool for at least a month. Idk if Dave or Big Cat would admit it to him, but that's 100% good for Barstool. Anything that gets people talking about Barstool is good for Barstool. Anything to stay in the news cycle is good for Barstool. And the more people at this company talk shit about Nicky Smokes and his $100k salary, the more likely he is to stay relevant. The more idiots like me give in and blog about him because they need to get their clicks up. The more KFC interacts with him. That just means he's doing his job better. As much as some people don't want to admit it, that is unequivocally true.
I know literally nothing about Nicky Smokes aside from when I asked him to do the Rundown on Wednesday. He asked me to add a Tua Tagovailoa topic. I felt like he did a pretty good job. And he would have been better if he didn't walk back some of his terrible takes. There's a reason Skip Bayless has been on TV every day for over a decade.
I don't know if Nicky Smokes is the kind of person who brushes this shit off and continues on with his day, or if he's the type of guy where things like "all of your co-workers being pissed off that you're making more money than them simply because Dave Portnoy made a flippant Twitter bet" eat at him. I'm fairly confident Nicky would say he's not bothered by it, and that it's just part of the job. Which is probably half true. But there's a part of everybody here who cares what people think of them. Everybody except Frank.
I'm cheering for Nicky Smokes. I'd be happy to do any sort of content with him. That's not saying a lot, because I would do content with literally anybody at Barstool who asks…but still. I have respect for anybody who can make a living doing content on the internet. And I'm not cheering against anybody.
(Editor's Note: This blog is so insane. Was Nicky supposed to turn down his salary? People are mad at him for accepting a job? I think I'm even more confused now than I was before.)