Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Mariotti Fallout

In the last few days I've read a few of the pieces about the JayBird's fall from grace. If you've been asleep at your keyboard, the sportsblogosphere has been awash with joy at Mariotti's tumble. Here are a few of the sites weighing in:

Sports By Brooks has chronicled an exhaustive list of all the times Jay's castigated a professional athlete for domestic violence issues over the last twenty years or so. It's a pretty extensive list, and the SBB post excerpts all the relevant pieces which do a clear job of exposing Jay's willingness to criticize.

Deadspin has gotten ahold of an alleged eyewitness and even a photo of both the woman and the apartment lobby in question.

Richard Deitsch at has collected a few interesting viewpoints from around the media, though he mostly discusses the vitriolic response of FJayM whipping boy Gregg Doyel. Apparently Doyel had a Mariotti-related rant on his Twitter account (quick recap of the tweets here) a few nights ago. After reading Doyel's Twitter account it is clear to me that these sportswriters have an enormous amount of time on their hands to tweet about bullshit. After reading a few of Gregg's thoughts, it's clear that in spending a great amount of his energy castigating someone before knowing the facts, he seems to lack a sense of self-awareness.

Doyel had this to say:

"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 Donald Trump -- and for doing the exact thing Mariotti was accused of doing the other night. I was shocked by the news, and I was disgusted."

Gregg's timing reveals that he's preposterously eager to see his own version of Jay confirmed in public. It's evident in the way he says it - carefully including the "accused of" phrase to technically cover his ass when he obviously has convicted Jay in his mind. Convicted him not because he has any factual knowledge of the events but because it's a perfect opportunity to kick an enemy when he's down.

[Aside: one of my favorite Onion sidebars ever, moderately relevant at this point: "Bully Not So Tough After Being Molested". Cringe humor. Awesome.]

Even Ochocinco seems to have grasped the fundamentals of the situation. Lord knows he's not one to withhold his thoughts.

In my opinion, the Miami Herald's Dan le Batard offers the most dispassionate and long-distance view of the situation. He points out that Mariotti is a symbol of a greater malaise within the sports world, and the overwhelming vitriol spewing out of the mainstream media and the blogosphere is disconcerting. He correctly recognizes Mariotti as a caricature who's unrepresentative of the sports media as a whole, but also suggests that the sheer glee with which his colleagues have reacted to Jay's situation is a symptom of a culture too obsessed with grabbing attention - even at the expense of core values like "fairness and fair play and compassion". It sounds a little hokey when put that way, but it rings true.

I fall in with Le Batard's take. Domestic violence isn't joyful, and an overhwelming reaction against Mariotti misses the point: he's a symbol of what people want. In a way, Jay isn't really Jay - he's just a stand-in for our own appreciation of an entertainer who stirs the pot on television and in print with a skill that infuriates but grabs attention. He's the face of our desire for entertainment. We hate that, and we hate that Jay has made a ton of money off that... but Jay wouldn't have made that dough and gotten his name in the bylines and his mug on the screen if there weren't enough of us clamoring for it. The sports media is big business, and these companies wouldn't have hired Jay if people didn't want Jay.

Don't confuse your hatred of Jay the personality's existence with a hatred of Jay as a person. I make no attempt to defend Jay's actions or personality: a quick glance at our posts reveals that we think he's an asshole, at least in print. The facts may bear out in any number of directions, and Jay has surely earned little sympathy or forgiveness. But public humiliation went out of style a few hundred years ago.

I suppose we've carved out our own little niche of the blogosphere tearing Jay up, and it's paying off enough that our traffic on the 21st went up more than twelvefold compared to the previous two Saturdays. It pains me to think that we might be making our last few posts labeled "Jay Mariotti" and may even have a moderate identity crisis soon, but at this point there's not much left to say. Let the court case come out where it will; let the eventual firing happen in its course (doubt any media employer would take him now even if the accusation proved false); let Jay go back to being whoever he was before the media conglomerates gave him the pulpit to fulminate from.

To the rest of the sports media: if we really want to attack the problem here, we should take our last opportunity to keep Jay off the air and tone down our attacks on him. Why not just let Jay slink away into whatever career might be left for him? Is that such a bad solution?


Elliot said...

1200% domestic violence-related increase in site traffic. It's not often you can say that about a website.

dan-bob said...

Makes me wonder about our readers, Elliot.

Chris W said...

Yes, these are our readers!

Adam said...

Only morons want what Jay represents. The problem is there are a lot of morons.

rich said...

Don't confuse your hatred of Jay the personality's existence with a hatred of Jay as a person.

I hate Jay the personality because it's loud, obnoxious, often absurd and hypocritical. Kind of like anonymous from the TMQ post.

I hate Jay the person because he's an entitled, narcissistic, self-absorbed douchebag.

I hate that he got arrested for domestic violence. No one deserves to be abused by a significant other. I do, however, have very little sympathy for the fact that he got arrested. When bad things happen to douchebags, I typically don't get too caught up in the matter.

CB said...

After reading Doyel's barrage of tweets, I have come to the conclusion that he might be an even bigger douche than Mariotti.

Chris W said...

Doyel is exactly like Mariotti except whereas Mariotti is obviously being an asshole for exploitative purposes, he keeps up the veil of being a moral and athletic watchdog. Doyel just relishes in the role of exploitative asshole. HIs mailbags are the most ridiculous thing in sportswriting--though not necessarily bad

Biggus Rickus said...

Doyel's whole schtick is inherently bad, whether mailbag or needlessly angry column. It seems to me that CBS Sportsline's raison d'etre is to piss people off. How else can you explain one website employing Gregg Doyel, Dennis Dodd and Mike Freeman? Maybe Mariotti can get a job there!

Aaron Y said...

Wow, the save Jay Mariotti crew revealing its true colors. I can't believe you fags are defending Mariotti, bunch of contrarian faggots.

Chris W said...


Elliot said...

Chris, apparently Aaron can't read. It's sad, really.

Aaron Y said...

Fire Jay Mariotti blog:"we should...tone down our attacks on him (Jay Mariotti)."

Jesus, I expected you guys to be dancing in the streets over here and you're worried about his feelings. Awwwww...

"Why not just let Jay slink away into whatever career might be left for him? Is that such a bad solution?"

Awww poor Mariotti, people are being mean to him. Awwwwwwwwww...

dan-bob said...

If you spend all your time, as we do, complaining about writers being dicks to people they barely know, it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to do it.

Jay's done. Undone not by us but by himself, most likely. I like it better that way anyways. I don't give two shits about Jay's feelings, I just don't want to do exactly what he would do in this situation.

I don't know if I represent the views of the rest of the FJayM writers. We tabled discussion of this on our weekly conference call to focus on the Reds' pennant chances.

Elliot said...

Ellipses are great for removing context.

Aaron's Karl Rove-esque quotation:

"we should...tone down our attacks on him (Jay Mariotti)." Thanks for putting in Jay's name, BTW. Would have had no idea about who you were referring to otherwise.

What dan-bob actually wrote:

if we really want to attack the problem here, we should take our last opportunity to keep Jay off the air and tone down our attacks on him. Why not just let Jay slink away into whatever career might be left for him? Is that such a bad solution?

dan-bob was merely saying that there are far more effective ways to allow Mariotti's career plunge to continue other than to go the Aaron route of "JAY IS A FAGGIT!!111 LOLOLOLOLOLOL YOU GUYZ R FAGS 2!!!!!1111111111one"

Aaron Y said...

Poor wittle Maweeotti, God forbid he should receive the Maweeotti treatment. We here at "Fire Jay Mariotti" are way above wishing bad upon people.

Lmao you're just a bunch of contrarians tbh. I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of you were hipsters, "I was hating on Marriotti before it was cool" or "Mariotti hating used to be cool before everybody started doing it" and such. I don't buy this holier than thou act at all. You're just mad because people everywhere are doing what was your schtick.

Elliot said...

You are an idiot.