Published on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 21:38
Late Monday night, former Chicago newspaper columnist and radio host Jay Mariotti wrote a blog regarding the recent extreme bullying allegations within the Miami Dolphins football team. At the end of the long blog, Mariotti casually dropped a bombshell, alleging that he was the surprise target of bullying in his former Chicago workplace.
He never names the Chicago Sun-Times specifically. He said it was in Chicago at "a dying, insane-asylum newspaper" where he worked. Since he only worked at one Chicago newspaper, it's not difficult to figure out which one he is referring to.
Here is what Mariotti wrote near the end of his blog
"In Chicago, I worked at a dying, insane-asylum newspaper where co-workers often tried to pick fights. A couple of my sportswriting colleagues would walk into press boxes and bully teammates. One of them, an older columnist who didn't like me and the fact I was on national TV, challenged me to two fist fights -- right there and then -- for no good reason. I'd just laugh at the guy and alert a press-box guard, then let the editors know they had hotheads in the ranks and that it wasn't good for morale or outside perceptions. One of my editors -- the editor-in-chief, in fact -- thought the best recourse was to scream at me for pointing it out and, when I tried to leave his office, forearm-shiver me against a wall. He was fired shortly afterward, but the bullying didn't stop. I had to break up two fights between our football writers, once in a Super Bowl hotel lobby in Jacksonville, the other in a press-box elevator in San Diego."
In his usual style while talking about unpleasant moments in his life, Mariotti paints himself as the victim, never acknowledging any role in what happened to him.
It is similar to his defense of his two arrests and multiple felonies he was charged with over the course of a couple of years, when he was found assaulting a former girlfriend. (Charges he was twice able to get reduced to misdemeanors by pleading "no contest" to his assaulting the woman.) Tossing out claims the girlfriend was lying just to make money from him (she has never once even went public to earn a dime from these incidents), claims that the multiple eyewitnesses in multiple locations were just out to get him, claims that the police officers who found evidence of abuse on the woman were poor at their jobs, claims the prosecutors were just attempting to make names for themselves, and claims that the media was trying to make him look bad even though they were just exposing public reports, Mariotti is quite adapt at playing the victim card.
Mariotti has also had a reputation for playing loose with facts when writing his columns, choosing to go for maximum impact with his words, rather than maximum truth. Even if all that Mariotti said about his former Sun-Times colleagues is 100% true, he leaves out what may have led up to those incidents taking place. Did Mariotti provoke these people to violence? Were they only violent toward him? Did these many attacks come out of the blue or was there a spark that lit these flames? Was Mariotti a pacifist who continually found himself at the wrong time and place with each incident?
After Mariotti's final exit from the Chicago Sun-Times in 2008, a great many of his co-workers in the newspaper's sports department and elsewhere were very open about their joy of his departure. Stories of Mariotti's arrogance, bad attitudes, angry outbursts, and yes, bullying, were widely discussed. Even such beloved souls as the late Roger Ebert was forthcoming in his disgust at having to work with Mariotti at the Sun-Times and his relief that the man had finally left the building.
For a person who many have claimed to be a bully in person, a writer who has made a living out of bullying sports figures from behind a keyboard, and for a person who has been seen by witnesses physically bullying a woman, Mariotti's claims of being a bullying victim while he worked in Chicago seem... unusual.
Only those who were involved in these incidents at the Sun-Times and at press boxes, assuming they did indeed happen as he describes in his new blog, know the truth.
Jay Mariotti was only working and living in Chicago for 17 years. He was a controversial columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times starting in 1991. Mariotti not only angered readers, along with local/national sports and media figures, but his own co-workers, as well. He abruptly quit the Sun-Times in 2008, for the most part resulting in cheers from both the public and former work associates.
In 2004, Jay Mariotti hosted a Chicago radio show on WMVP-AM. He was released after only ten months when he would not stop verbally attacking Jerry Reinsdorf, the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Bulls, and those associated with those teams. WMVP-AM was the flagship radio station of both the White Sox and the Bulls at that time. Station management asked Mariotti to tone down his inflammatory remarks. He refused, causing the station to part ways with him. No other radio stations in town chose to hire him after that, although he did host a national radio show from Chicago for One on One Sports/Sporting News Radio for a short while.
Mariotti joined AOL as a writer for Fanzone.com in January 2009 and worked as a regular commentator on ESPN's "Around The Horn." Both ESPN and AOL's Fanhouse.com parted ways with the outspoken Mariotti after the embarrassing incidents of domestic abuse began in 2010.
He remained unemployed until this summer when he struck a deal
with with the Largo, FL-based Genesis Communications II, Inc. That company, which owns radio stations across the state of Florida, started up a website, MariottiShow.com for him. On that website, Mariotti now hosts his own Internet radio sports talk show from his own computer, which Genesis Communications also airs on four of its radio stations in Florida. Additionally, the website allows Mariotti the ability to deliver unedited blogs, such as the one from Monday night, referenced above.
Jay Mariotti is 54 years old, divorced, and currently lives outside of Venice, CA, having sold his Chicagoland home in the northern suburbs a few years ago.