Sports columnist Jay Mariotti was a regular on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” then last week he was arrested for suspicion of “felony domestic assault.”
This afternoon, “Around the Horn” tackled his arrest and the subsequent media coverage in a segment. Host Tony Reali opened the segment by saying “and now let’s get awkward,” before explaining the details of his arrest. Next he threw to the Mariotti-free panel to get their take on the media’s coverage of his arrest.
What did they have to say?
I’m not really surprised, Tony. Jay has always been a polarizing figure. There is a lot of ego and envy in this business of sports commentating. I think a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the fact that he’s risen as he has by being such a provocateur, and always telling other people what to do and how to run their lives and how they should be treated thereafter. So I really wasn’t surprised by the avalanche of criticism that came particularly from the media or even from athletes and people that read and watch his work.
As Jay’s major arch-rival for years in Denver and almost eight years on this program, I’m saddened by the situation but I’m not shocked by the reaction. We have chosen all of us to go on this national stage and offer strong, powerful opinions, and as a result of that, sometimes the critics become criticized. We have moved into glass houses. We in this country tend to build people up and knock them down. Jay is — has a lot of enemies and in this case I’m not as surprised as Kevin is by the reaction. I just think that it’s a very sad situation, reflects on all of us.
I was always disappointed Jay Mariotti did not use his formidable writing skills in a positive way. But he chose to be the ultimate contrarian and seemed comfortable taking on coaches, players, owners, and sometimes other members of the media. And now there is a great deal of people reveling in his downfall. I was once suspended for a foolish remark for a month and I was heartened and gratified by the tremendous support I got from people in the business, both male and female. It got me through that much easier. I only regret Jay does not enjoy that same support but he’ll have to start rethinking about how he’s going about his business.