During a recent moment of rare enlightenment, I tweeted out the following unarguable, indisputable and incontrovertible statement:
“Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy is a disease for which there is no cure.”
Portnoy is the founder of Barstool Sports, an overflowing toilet disguised as a sports blog. Barstool Sports exhibits the very worst of America, which, of late, is a hard title to come by. To his discredit, Portnoy has proved that crass, ugly, crude and boorish is the road to Internet riches.
Portnoy once joked that a woman wearing size 6 skinny jeans “kind of deserve[s] to be raped.” He said that anyone blocking traffic to protest racist policing “deserves to die a horrible gruesome death.” Barstool used to run a blog post called “Guess That Ass” and “Guess That Rack.”
Suffice to say, all damsels are in distress in Portnoy’s company.
I’ll spare you any more details in regard to Barstool’s vulgar content; however, let me direct any cultural rubberneckers out there to an excellent compilation of Portnoy’s misdeeds in a terrific article last year by the Daily Beast’s Robert Silverman.
Portnoy engages in scorched-earth social media warfare. He indiscriminately attacks everything, and if you push back, he sends out his hyper-aggro, testosterone-inflamed groupie brigade — they are called “Stoolies” — to crush you.
It would be nice to ignore Barstool Sports, but it has a growing presence — with podcasts, on SiriusXM, even ESPN greenlit a weekly Barstool show in 2017 before someone in Bristol woke up in a cold sweat and canceled it after one episode — and the Chernin Group threw millions into the pot as a majority owner.
Frankly, Peter Chernin should be Twitter-shamed for that toxic capitalism.
Barstool Sports makes Deadspin look like The New Yorker.
Barstool Nation makes Raider Nation look like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Portnoy is the latest in a long line of New England sports folk to morph into multimedia. They used to be kinder and gentler, like Bud Collins, Lesley Visser, Bob Ryan, Peter Gammons and Jackie MacMullan. But these young guns nowadays — actually, they’re not that young; the Boston sports guy is pushing 50 and Portnoy is almost 42 — are megalomaniacal knuckle-draggers.
(On a more benign note, Portnoy does videos in which he rates pizzas. This crumb bum stumbled into Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza in Elizabeth, N.J. — a national pizza shrine — and gave it an 8.3. Then he went to Chuck E. Cheese’s in Melbourne, Fla., and gave it a 6.0. This is like giving Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” an 8.3 and Earl Scheib’s latest paint job on a Chevy Impala a 6.0. Heck, if you take a bite of Al Santillo’s pie and don’t realize you are tasting bliss, you ought not be eating pizza at all.)
Anyway, Portnoy finally triggered my “enough is enough” muscle during an appearance on Fox News, sometimes home of the four biggest ogres in media — Tucker Carlson, Steve Doocy, Sean Hannity and barbarian emeritus Bill O’Reilly.
They put a sports coat and necktie on him, giving Portnoy the veil of humanhood, and this is what he told Carlson in regard to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s solicitation arrest:
“They can’t beat him on the field. They’ve had six championships in a row. And this misdemeanor suddenly comes up — an eight-month investigation? I wouldn’t put it past Roger Goodell to say, ‘I can’t beat him fair and square.’ So I believe they have a word for it called ‘entrapment.’ So they . . . lure him into this spa and next thing you know, he’s getting dragged in.”
That’s some next-gen, ahead-of-the-curve stuff, Biff.
Within seconds, I tweeted out something about Portnoy being an incurable disease.
“They’re going to flatten you,” a friend texted me.
Indeed, Barstool Sports has 1.47 million Twitter followers, and Portnoy himself has 834,000. I have a mere 66,000 followers, of whom 65,233 are currently waiting for the flop in a 2-5 no-limit hold ’em game.
And, boy oh boy, the Barstool bullies bombarded me. My tweet got nearly half a million views — Bob Beamon-ing my personal record — and nearly 500 replies. I read about 75 of the Stoolie samples, which is all I needed to see — it’s like when you’re first exposed to Hustler magazine; after five or six pages, you pretty much get the picture.
Many of the non-profane entries simply said, “Welcome to the Terror Dome.”
What, these cyber thugs are going to hurt me more than I’ve already hurt myself? We’re talking two divorces, two bouts of kidney stones, a weekly dose of IBS, an occasional flare up of hemorrhoids and a back that’s gone bad. I’m virtually six feet under, so I’m virtually untouchable.
I’m drawing a line in the sand, and I don’t even like going to the beach.
Today we say: The B.S. has to end.
Q. Any thoughts on LPGA golfer Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong? (Paul Ferko; Parma, Ohio)
A. We dated briefly several years back, but when it got serious, she balked at the prospect of one day becoming Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong-Chad.
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