In the hours after the news broke, Doyel sent
"That wasn't me enjoying Mariotti's news; that was me being infuriated by it," Doyel said in an e-mail Sunday. "Nobody in our business makes me angrier, consistently, than he does, and not because his columns evoke such feeling. It's the way he does his business, even the way he carries himself, that ticks me off, and this news was just awful. So I got angry, and it bubbled over, and that was a flash flood. I'm getting angry again thinking about it."
Doyel was not alone. The phrase "Mariotti" became a Twitter trending topic in the United States by Saturday afternoon, with the majority of the commenters exhibiting glee over his arrest. The attacks were also not limited to the general public.
Among those who offered their thoughts through social media outlets were
The early answer is yes.
Mariotti is not a popular figure among his colleagues and he's long been a columnist who works in absolutes and indignation. The list of those he has criticized is long, including most major figures in Chicago sports. While there are much better stylists and reporters, Mariotti did what good sports columnists do: He provoked reaction -- and often angry reaction.
"My initial thought was of the irony," Doyel said. "Here's a guy who writes without pause or nuance about athlete misbehavior. There is no gray with him, only black and white. In his columns he's fired more people than
While I'm an ardent supporter of sports writers appearing on television and getting paid for it, I've long criticized
But in an inane world that rewards people points for semi-intelligent bluster, Mariotti was
Here now is the problem for ESPN and AOL FanHouse: What do you do with a sports columnist arrested on suspicion of felony domestic assault when that sports columnist has made a career out of attacking athletes in criminal situations? FanHouse, which has pumped tons of money and promotion into Mariotti, has an uneasy road ahead as the legal process plays out. "We take the matter very seriously and are actively pursuing all the facts," FanHouse editor-in-chief
Given that the majority of sports fans identify Mariotti as a TV talking head, ESPN is also under pressure, especially because of precedents already established by the network when staffers have encountered legal problems or external issues that affected credibility. "We're not going to comment until we sort this out," ESPN spokesperson
Last October, ESPN fired baseball analyst
It's important to note that unlike Phillips and Kornheiser, Mariotti is not a full-time employee for ESPN. He is contracted per appearance on
The process must play out, of course, and arrested does not mean guilty of anything. ESPN and AOL Sports would be wise to investigate the matter comprehensively in addition to whatever the authorities do.
But a prediction here in the event the executives in Bristol find merit with the charges:
You will never see Jay Mariotti appear on
The Pat Tillman that Americans are familiar with is a slo-mo of his face, superimposed with the falling twin towers and Old Glory, smoke and soldier silhouettes and martial music underneath. It's an image Pat would have laughed heartily at, but the more serious truth is that we do a great disservice to our heroes when we depict them this way. One piece of news footage we have in the film says, "Pat had everything to live for -- except a sense of purpose. He said he found that, on September 11th." It's patently false on so many levels -- he did have a sense of purpose, and he never said he found anything on September 11th. It says much more about who WE needed or wanted Pat to be than it says about Pat himself.
Five weeks later, in-boxes throughout the sports media world were filled with a
Should a reporter covering colleges endorse an alcoholic beverage? I tweeted out last week that I thought it was an unwise decision by Brown. If the sideline reporter were assigned to a pro sport, I'd have zero issues with her decision. But there's a large percentage of athletes and fans Brown will cover this year who cannot drink legally. For me, it's a matter of figuring out what you want be in sports television: If you are serious about making a name for yourself in newsgathering, you politely turn down this fame and money grab because students are involved.
Yes, I know the counterarguments: College students are going to drink; the whole damn college football system is corrupt; and why shouldn't Brown take advantage of the opportunity? Plus, who am I to make value judgments? Fair enough.
ESPN does not have a formal policy regarding its talent endorsing commercial products. The network has long said that it evaluates each of the requests on an individual basis and makes a determination on it. "These opportunities are evaluated on a case-by-case basis," an ESPN spokesperson said when asked about Brown's deal. "While this request was approved, we are reviewing the matter internally."
The fact that ESPN is reviewing the matter is interesting, and the network would be wise to ask Brown to politely decline it. If her work is solid and if fans like what she's doing, Jenn Brown is going to have plenty of opportunities to endorse products down the road. This is one she should ice.
At the end of the month I'll weigh in on