01.22.14

In Which Jay Mariotti Accomplishes The Near Impossible : Generating Sympathy For The Sports Putz

Posted in Sports Journalism at 10:24 pm by

‘Tis one thing to question Grantland editor Bill Simmons’ handling of Caleb Hannen’s much-pilloried “Dr. V’s Magical Putter” ; Simmons himself has apologized, and while I found said apology a little too self-serving for comfort, it would be the stretch of the century to claim the incident proves Simmons is unfit to preside over the website.  But that’s exactly the sort of reach attempted by former ESPN fixture-turned-inconsequential troll Jay Mariotti (above), who likens Simmons’ rise to mainstream stardom to something’s that’s “ruined the sports media industry in too many ways to count”.

Why is a career fanboy making critical decisions about a difficult story involving suicide and a transgender person? Why was Bill Simmons in this position to begin with? Shouldn’t he have been back in Boston, wearing a Celtics throwback jersey and screaming from the cheap seats that Doc Rivers quit on the team?

Simmons doesn’t write well, doesn’t do TV well and really doesn’t do much of anything but schmooze the right people. At ESPN, any guy off the street — myself included, I suppose — could do a few shows and become a star, based simply on the network’s massive clout and reach. But at some point, there has to be a redeeming value to a personality. And don’t tell me about page views, unique visitors and Twitter followers — the biggest ongoing scam in the web media is how people buy and fabricate numbers, in some cases by the hundreds of thousands. Ignore numbers.

Bill Simmons, BS for short, is the product of a network so big that it can make media sensations out of hubcaps. Now that he has become a liability to that network, expect him any day back in the Garden with his Celtics jersey.

Because I am a reasonable person, I think there’s at least a one percent chance Mariotti’s editorial was motivated by something other than professional jealousy. Prior to Mariotti burning bridges in Chicago and getting bounced from television after a domestic violence incident, he had ample access to ESPN resources yet somehow found mass popularity elusive. He also found likeability somewhat elusive.

And yes, let’s ignore page views, visitors and Twitter followers. Because Jay has none to speak of.

Really, the nicest thing you can say about Mariotti’s myriad attempts at reinvention since leaving ESPN is that is he’s not nearly as delusional as Dino Costa. But given his brief tenure at the since shuttered AOL Fanhouse, it’s the height of hypocrisy to read his moaning about, “web entrepreneurs with no conscience about accountability”.

No one who’s read CSTB since inception will confuse me with a Bill Simmons apologist. But to compare Grantland to those who trade in “stalking famous athletes and media people and publishing blatant lies, blind items, dick and vagina photos”, is to essentially admit you have to fucking idea what you’re talking about. Again.

One Response to “In Which Jay Mariotti Accomplishes The Near Impossible : Generating Sympathy For The Sports Putz”

  1. Colby says:

    Mariotti is the worst, which is saying a lot seeing he resides in the same world as Skip Bayless…..

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