Salisbury resident Sean Mitchell believed he must have done something wrong when he heard his mother, Sue, explode over speakerphone on his way home from the Bruins game Tuesday night.
Sean, a 20-year-old who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, attended the game with his father, Bob. The Salisbury residents used a pair of season tickets to sit behind the Bruins bench, and Sean was captured by NESN cameras eating a hot dog without a bun during the first period.
“Sean has problems with muscular control,” Sue Mitchell said. “He loves to eat hot dogs and have refreshments. He can’t eat a hot dog in a bun. It’s easier for him to take a hot dog out and eat it that way.”
Sue Mitchell was enraged when a screenshot of the NESN telecast was published on the satirical sports website, Boston Barstool Sports, with a headline that called Sean “a savage” for eating the hot dog without a bun.
“There was some sexual innuendo,” Sue Mitchell said. “I’m disgusted by this. He’s special needs trying to eat. His outlet is going to Bruins and Patriots games, and now he’s not going to want to eat a hot dog again in public. I want to get this out showing what Boston Barstool Sports did.”
The Barstool blog post was published at 9:51 p.m., and was removed from the site about an hour later. Boston Barstool Sports owner and founder David Portnoy said yesterday there was no intent to pick on someone who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“A bunch of people sent the photo, and I actually thought it was a funny picture,” Portnoy said. “A lot of people did. It was a two-second post, and we took it down maybe an hour later. It had nothing to do with the kid. We thought it’s a normal kid who chooses to eat a hot dog without a bun.”