T Dog’s Think Tank: Associating with Mariotti sends the wrong message

A sports hernia, indeed.

Look what washed up on the shores on the beaches of L.A. after all these years…: it’s the human garbage disposal: Jay Mariotti.

Two weeks ago, the former Chicago Sun-Times columnist and Around The Horn panelist on ESPN – and who twice pleaded no contest to misdemeanor domestic abuse – wrote a not-so-glowing piece on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and the team, the city, and the fans on Chicago Side Sports, a new website which was launched last spring.

Moving to California sure cheered him up, I’ll say.

The column is the typical vapid fare he usually wrote, bashing Jay Cutler for his childlike antics, the Bears performance, and other problems the team has. And for good measure, he took a slam toward the Cubs, local sports fans, and the City of Chicago (though he did praise Bulls star Derrick Rose.) He did write another column – this week about the Chicago White Sox, but I’ll spare you the details.

I guess you can say Mariotti’s new column fits right in with the new ChicagoSide website. Instead of the opportunity to break new ground in Chicago sports journalism, the website that falsely advertises itself as “The Best Sports In Town” makes the same mistakes others of its ilk does – pandering too much to fans and rehashes stories already told (Wow, ANOTHER list of Chicago’s heartbreaking losses? How creative and innovative), along with extremely long and boring articles. Given the eye-catching use of a four-letter word as part of a title of a story and complete unprofessionalism, ChicagoSide is yet another useless sports site targeted to the male 18-49, “all of the liquor, none of the clothes” crowd, as the only advertising they would likely attract is for strip clubs and pawn shops (they decided to go through the advertising co-op route. Good luck with that.) Chicagoland Radio & Media dismissed it as “a little-read website.”

The creator of the site is Jonathan Eig, and his credentials may surprise you – the 48-year old has written articles for the NewYork Times and authored three critically-acclaimed, best-selling books, and previously wrote a weekly sports article for Chicago Magazine. Eig recently defended his hiring of Mariotti to Ed Sherman on the Sherman Report website: “It is simple. I invited him to submit a story if he ever felt the urge. [Mariotti] submitted one and I liked it. I don’t know if he’ll write for us again, but if he produces additional stories as good as this one, I’d be pleased to have them.”

Is he kidding? Has Eig ever read Mariotti’s work before? I bet Eig has been taking advice from Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels. Given his solid credentials, you’d think Eig would be smart enough to know better. And he must’ve really liked the column because Mariotti wrote another one last week bashing the White Sox.

It’s just another example of Chicago media’s obsession with recycling obnoxious talent who wore out their welcome years ago. Mariotti was never welcome here to begin with – you can click here and here to see how much I despise this puke. Much like Fox Chicago’s hiring of Mancow Mueller a few weeks ago to simulcast his syndicated morning radio show over WPWR, it’s based on the flawed theory the most arrogant and loathsome the personality is, the more audience you’ll attract. Its one the just-as-loathsome idiots who run Chicago media rely on a lot… it’s little wonder why ours its is a national laughingstock… and our sports journalism is by far the worst in the country, despite what ChicagoSide says. You can thank Randy “Court Jester” Michaels for lowering the bar during his reign as head clown at the Tribune Co.

But the real tragedy here is Mariotti’s arrests for domestic violence – he was charged in August 2010 and May 2011 with felonies and other misdemeanor charges for abusing his ex-girlfriend in Los Angeles, which also included stalking, violating an order of protection, and other crimes. In each case, Mariotti pleaded no contest to the charges and received probation and community service – merely getting a slap in the wrist.

What kind of message does this send? Once again, it shows the lack of respect for women. And as yours truly pointed out last spring – despite gains in employment – women are still treated like second-class citizens in the media. From Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke to women bitch-slapping each other on reality TV shows, the media continues to devalue females. If I were investing in this site, I’d pull my money out in protest. Eig should be ashamed of himself. But since he wants to cater to the “all of the liquor, none of the clothes” crowd, what better way to promote your website featuring a washed-up columnist convicted of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend?

And for a site that prides itself on local content, why is a website devoted to Chicago sports giving time and space to someone born in Pittsburgh and currently resides in L.A. to write about the subject ? Does that make any sense? Mariotti does not live here, and hasn’t for quite some time. And besides, his Twitter feed is often filled with nothing but hate for Chicago teams, athletes, and for the city itself. It’s enough to make Mitt Romney and any Republican proud. This move by ChicagoSide sacrifices what little credibility they have for a flimsy increase in web hits.

Along with Mancow’s hiring at WPWR, this is just another black eye for Chicago media, which has been a freak show for years, in one of the most corrupt cities in America. I feel sorry for all those young writers who are going to be overshadowed by this clown. Jonathan Eig is becoming the next Randy Michaels.

Here, nice guys finish and assholes finish first. It’s the Chicago Way.

Yes, Jay Cutler still sucks.

And so does Jay Mariotti.