Former ESPN “Around the Horn” regular and AOL columnist Jay Mariotti has been largely absent from the public eye since being arrested and pleading no contest to a pair of domestic violence charges in the last year, with the most recent court date happening earlier his month. Now, Mariotti has written a book about his experiences, The System.
From our “So What Do You Do?” column:
Have you resumed talks with FoxSports.com once again about a possible job?
I don’t think it’s done. Understandably, they want me out of the headlines. I don’t blame them — I want to be out of headlines. I think they know, other than one woman, I have a clean life. I think they understand the situation. I’m intrigued by Fox because, honestly, and I don’t say this because I don’t work at ESPN anymore, but ESPN is getting kind of boring. They aren’t pushing the envelope anymore. It’s all kind of ex-jocks. It’s all predictable. It’s not must-watch TV anymore. It’s because the management there is comfortable because they make zillions of dollars. They shifted it into neutral. This is an opportunity for Fox Sports, the new NBC initiative with Versus, you start creating competition there. They can go out and hire people who are interesting and not just kind of there. [Bill] Simmons is the one guy — he’s a pain in the ass for them but I love him for it — but he’s pushing the envelope there. I think these operations can go out and do the same. I don’t know if they can topple ESPN — that’s a pretty monolithic place — but they can challenge and give them competition for the first time in a very long time.
Did ESPN management call after your name was cleared and apologize?
Nope. Zero tolerance there, but for some. Not for Matthew Barnaby. I wish Matthew well. I’m not saying, “Fire Matthew Barnaby.” What I’m saying is I’m glad they are being patient with his life. I’m happy for him and his family that they aren’t going to take away his income. I was on the air for 1,800 shows and probably 200-300 more times. So more than 2,000 times on their air … kind of odd for a show that was maligned early and we had to deal with the criticism. We fought through it and then the show becomes a big hit. I dealt with a couple of good people there but they didn’t really ask any questions. They talked to my agent. I was shocked they took me off the air. I’m not going to name names, but there’s another fella on our show that had a big problem. They let him work through it. I don’t know why they didn’t let me, but I’m not angry or bitter or litigious. I’m just moving on.