Jay Mariotti is ranting again. His anger-laced scribblings are mostly enjoyable, because you can picture him frothing at the mouth, mumbling to himself while picking up his trash can from the curb, wearing a robe and slippers and cursing at nobody in particular. It’s sort of like Sean Salisbury’s meltdown after ESPN jettisoned him last decade.
Mariotti’s latest missive is about how ESPN hired Jason Whitlock to stop him from criticizing the network, and then promptly buried Whitlock’s work. The first part isn’t news at all – ESPN loves to hire its critics, from Tony Kornheiser to Dan LeBatard and even way back to Bill Simmons. Hell, the great Norman Chad has been slamming ESPN for years in columns and he’s still their poker guy.
Mariotti’s hook is that there’s a Bernie Fine case against ESPN going to court, and the plaintiffs are going to be bringing up Whitlock’s old Fox Sports columns. Mariotti, who two decades ago was a very good writer, has been reduced to essentially copying and pasting two entire columns by Whitlock to attempt to prove his point. Geez, man, is it that hard to pull a shorter segment, summarize and toss in a link?
While Mariotti’s agenda is clear – hey, I criticize ESPN, when are you guys going to hire me again? – there’s actually a kernel of truth here.
Whitlock left Fox for ESPN last August. It’s been eight months. Where is his “Black Grantland?” ESPN hired Nate Silver from the NYT in July of last year to launch the new 538. His site launched in March after months of breathless updates on new hires. Has Whitlock’s site hired anyone? Is there a tentative launch date? [via Sports Talk Florida]
Related: Jason Whitlock to Bill Simmons: “I’m going to be doing a Black Grantland” at ESPN
Related: ESPN Unhappy with Jason Whitlock’s Comments About Sports Illustrated’s Thayer Evans
Related: Jason Whitlock’s Criticism of Richard Sherman’s Writing Is Off-Base