Jay Mariotti’s radio show on the flapship station of nemesis Jerry Reinsdorf’s White Sox and Bulls lasted almost 10 months. From the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein.
Jay Mariotti is off Chicago’s airwaves, and he says his departure from ESPN Radio’s WMVP-AM 1000 is the result of the station’s desire to curry favor with the White Sox and Bulls.
Mariotti said the station asked him to tone down his criticism of the Bulls and White Sox, whose games are broadcast on WMVP and whose contracts are close to expiring.
The station is in negotiations with the teams on a new deal.
A source said Mariotti received a written edict last month ordering him to ease up on the Bulls and Sox. Station executives followed that up with oral reminders.
Both sides finally had enough.
“We agreed that if I wouldn’t agree to their editorial conditions, then I should leave,” Mariotti said Tuesday.
“I’m not going to compromise my integrity to do favors on the air for the White Sox and the Bulls. When they ask me to treat two teams differently than the others, that’s a red flag for me, and it has been happening quite a bit over the last few months.”
Mariotti also has feuded publicly with Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson, Reinsdorf’s friend and adviser.
Told Tuesday that Mariotti was off the air in Chicago, Harrelson couldn’t hide his glee.
“I’m happy for the fans,” Harrelson said, “because he’s a vicious guy.
“I said he wouldn’t have that [radio] job long and I don’t think he’ll be a columnist much longer. He never lets the truth get in the way of a story. The city will be a lot better off without him.”