Should assholes be (temporarily) celebrated for good deeds?

Hello, I’m Dan Buffa and here tonight I will be taking apart my own column. A man who goes by Cross Check Raise on Twitter once did this with one of my columns, and it was humbling. Look for my edits in BOLD

Say what you want about Dave Portnoy, but the Boston native (remember his cry of abuse during the Stanley Cup Final) and highly successful businessman is coming through in a big way for family-owned businesses, with a focus on small time mom and pop type restaurants.

In fact, people have a lot to say about Portnoy. And it’s not good, you bald idiot. Stop writing and think before you type.

People either hate Portnoy, try to stand him amid good deeds, or just choose to forget he exists. This stems from the seemingly endless harassment that him and Barstool Sports have inflicted on women in sports and in general. They don’t make it easy to write nice things about their charity. I could say they are heartless bastard, but why are they doing all of this work for small businesses?

He is a diehard Bruins fan and claimed a Blues fan abused him during a Stanley Cup Final game, even if it was an exaggerated claim. He is highly successful enough to give millions to hurting restaurants. Those are facts.

But one can’t hide the fact that Portnoy has said some really racist and heinous shit. As a good friend of mine said, she would love to fire him into the sun if she could. I don’t think many people would shy away from that event. USA Today reported about the abuse right here

This week, a St. Louis classic was given a leg-up in the climb of 2021. Portnoy and Barstool Sports extended their Barstool Fund to Kemoll’s Chop House, which is owned by Mark Cusumano, a fourth generation family member. They will provide instant assistance, as well as check in on a monthly basis. Instead of just dropping in with a checkbook and leaving a piece of paper, Portnoy and company will circle back.

Facts. They do revisit the business every month to check in. Cusumano could have cried foul instantly about dealing with DP (stop writing his name, asshole), and rejected the help. He didn’t. The family even posted a wildly happy video about it. 

Kemoll’s, which has been around since 1927 and boasts some of the greatest steaks in town, is just the latest rescue by the Barstool Fund. Small businesses across the country have seen help in excess of a million dollars from Portnoy’s website-powered fund. It’s a genuine act of goodwill and compassion from a guy that most quarantined in the misogynist/womanizer zone long ago. DP is as polarizing of a non-sports figure, even one who circles the world of sports and entertainment, as you can find in the world today. Is he perfect? Nope. Are any of us, really? Not really.

Okay, this was just a bad paragraph. Taking the full blunt of hyperbole here. I went too far. The next thing I could have written was DP is auditioning for Hamilton or to play Bob Ross, and I would have found myself blasted into the sky. DP has, and is still doing, dogshit things to people. I don’t see him stopping either. He didn’t need this extra paragraph of fluff. And ladies and gentlemen, this is pure fluff. 

Label this a good mood column, but I am doing my best to feel optimistic about this year being better than the last. I’m hedging some bets on that by casting out a few generous and consistent acts of goodwill. DP wasn’t ordered by the moral police to help these people, families that have becomes attached at the hip to the restaurant that marks their childhoods. He just decided to. Give a man his fair share of disparity, but also recognize a gesture that defies inspection.

Translation: DP isn’t a hero, but he did some cool things for a lot of people this winter. 2020 was rough, bad, ugly, and in need of trashing. Many would place DP in that same category as last year, and I am not disagreeing with you. But can good will be recognized, even inside a far less than novel location?

The hometown touch works here. Many families have seen their bank account run along the negative route far too often. Check to check becomes an area of satisfaction, instead of standard regret. COVID-19 has taken a pound of flesh from most. DP is trying to ease the burden.

Fact: Several local favorites had to close their doors during the pandemic. Some did it a few times. Those are families, ones depending on a salary with a rent to be paid. We’ve seen our bank account go negative in the past year. Sure. Once again: DP is shit, but he’s helping. 

A stand-up gesture that is still running, finding the next family restaurant in need of a Barstool rescue. One can only hope other successful entrepreneurs take this model, formulate their own method of support with it, and pay Portnoy’s kindness forward. This is more than routine, but it surely needs to aspire to become a routine.

It was all going so well until I used the “pay it forward” line. What a waste.

Dave may be dead wrong about some St. Louis pizza establishments, but everything he’s been doing during the pandemic has been 100% right.

First part is right. Second part is absolutely one of the worst lines I’ve ever written. DELETED!

Alright, wrapping it up. 

Here’s the thing. I don’t support everything DP does. Not at all. He’s said and done, and will continue to do so, some nasty things. You can’t get around it. But he IS doing some incredible things for people in need. I have asked this for the entire edit. Can we recognize goodwill from a bad egg without having to sign a formal forgiveness contract? 

When this article was taken down, or ghosted, I had several people reach out to me, urging me to repost it elsewhere. I felt it was safe enough to do so here. The “dumbest person” comment wasn’t the only grenade I took today, but I understand the rage. I really do. All I am asking for is a chance to recognize the charity being done. I didn’t write this to blow smoke up DP’s ass. I made two pizza review videos mocking him for fuck’s sake, and those were so much fun to make. I don’t write endless columns about only the good things he’s done. The goal was to talk about Kemoll’s, a good deed, and the idea that perhaps assholes can do good things too. 

That’s it. Goodnight. 


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