Friday, June 12, 2015

3 comments Jay Mariotti Certainly Isn't Going to Allow Bill Simmons to Leave ESPN Without Taking the Opportunity to Take a Crap All Over Him

The "new" Jay Mariotti certainly acts exactly like the "old" Jay Mariotti acted. I figured he wouldn't allow Bill Simmons to leave ESPN without taking a shit on Simmons. It's just the way that Mariotti is. The professional courtesy of not taking a crap on someone who he used to work with is not something that Jay is interested in. It's not hard to see how I feel about Bill Simmons. Check out my vast archives (seriously, it's way too long...eight years of writing here certainly accumulates a lot of posts) to see how I feel about Bill. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend, but the enemy of enemy is certainly an asshole who is dumping on the enemy of my enemy for lacking the same journalistic skills that my enemy lacks. So Jay wants the fanboy phase of journalism to end. I'm not a big fan of fanboy journalism either, but I'm really, really not a fan of the bullshit antagonistic journalism that Jay Mariotti does. How about both forms of writing are done away with?

The Internet has perpetrated too much disarray in the world, giving semi-lives to people with no lives and adding too many reckless, unqualified voices to the daily churn.

Says the guy who does Internet writing and just left a job (got fired? failed miserably?) where all he did was write on the Internet. OF COURSE now that Jay is no longer writing solely on the Internet where he had no print presence he takes a shit on those who solely write on the Internet. Jay hates what he can't do or has been rejected from.

Also, who the fuck is Jay Mariotti to decide which voices are reckless and unqualified? Is he suggesting that sports sites do background checks on the people they hire, just to make sure they haven't pleaded "no contest" to a crime? Probably a good idea. Wouldn't want reckless people like that around the news room.

(I'll go ahead and put the "a lot of cursing" tag on this post)

A new century gave rise to sports websites that had to compete against legitimate journalists who actually broke news responsibly,

When the hell has Jay Mariotti ever broken news? He may have done this two decades ago, but he's a talentless asshole who simply writes reactionary pieces at this point in his career. The only news Jay Mariotti breaks is news like "This is my introductory column for a new site and here is why my old site sucks and everyone at it are assholes who don't understand real journalism and how many chances am I going to get to prove I don't suck?"

interviewed subjects, understood libel/slander law and carried the profession with savvy. 

I agree. The "Examiner" never should have hired you. This, we can agree upon. You have no savvy. You have no talent and the opinion you have of yourself is held by exactly 0 other people.

So, to have any chance, many of these new sites went low-brow and hired fans with no training in anything but how to wear a personally customized jersey to an arena, drink three beers and cheer maniacally for one’s team. 

The idea that Jay Mariotti accuses any site of going "low-brow" in hiring writers is just hilarious. The only places that have hired him are places who are so desperate for pageviews that they make a deal with him, but eventually regret it. Going low-brow should simply be called "Hiring Jay Mariotti" just like "Jumping the Shark" is synonymous with a show no longer being any good. AOL, Sports Talk Florida and now the "Examiner" have hired Jay Mariotti and two of the three seemed to regret the decision. Lacking pageviews? Need your site's name in the news? Hire Jay Mariotti. You will hate yourself in the morning though., then a digital embryo in a growing corporate empire, lured the eyeballs of sports fans by hiring one. Simmons had some talent, spoke the fan language and understood the fan perspective, so the hire was a good one … as a blogging niche. 

And when Jay is able to differentiate between the bullshit he writes about teams, which he calls journalism simply because he has some access, and a blogger like Simmons (who supposedly never really wanted access though he eventually got some) then he should just inform everyone. An article about how Michael Phelps is a loser for smoking pot or any of the other opinion-only pieces that Jay has written are basically just him blogging with a corporation behind him. His Sports Talk Florida site was as much of a blog as anything Bill Simmons wrote for ESPN.

So when Jay figures out why he is able to be so high and mighty about a blogging niche, I'd love to know, because I'm really confused.

Sports fanboys began to read the fanboy sportswriter. Traffic grew. Advertisers bought in. Simmons wrote two masturbatory books, both best-sellers.

While true, there is a lot of jealously in Jay's words. Remember the time Jay left the "Chicago Sun-Times" because writing on the Internet is where the future of journalism was? Seven years and two failed writing ventures later and Jay is back with print media, his lack of humility is still intact, while his sense of irony is still desperately broken beyond repair.

Bill's books are masturbatory (maybe THAT is why Bill got so many letters from readers discussing masturbation?), but they were both best-sellers and Bill has consistently sold books and managed to advance his own little empire. Bill Simmons is who Jay Mariotti wants to be.

Jay wanted to write on the Internet with AOL. He failed.

Jay wanted to write AND have his face on ESPN so he can be taken seriously. He failed. 

Jay wanted a multimedia empire with Sports Talk Florida. He failed.

Bill Simmons had/has the site that Jay desperately wanted to build. Jay wanted to be the editor-in-chief and get the validation as a real writer and editor that he so desperately craves. That was his goal with the Sports Talk Florida site. Bill did it without the training Jay thought he should have and he did it while making a ton of money in the process. This is Jay's jealousy talking. Jay, are you a little jel?

Suddenly, it didn’t matter if he never broke news and never quoted anyone but himself and his cousin. 

What's the deal with Jay and his need for quotes? Any person hired as a beat writer or a press pass can get quotes. This doesn't mean this person is a respected journalist.

ESPN created the original fanboy sportswriter, spawning a generation of fanboy sportswriters who also don’t know how to break news responsibly, interview subjects and cover sports properly. 

Again, when Jay Mariotti starts breaking news then I would like to be present for this. I can't recall a single story that Jay has ever broken, unless he wants to count the news that he is a coward and will hide when confronted by an MLB manager as breaking news, but that's just something most people expected of Jay anyway. It wasn't exactly news.

Friday, ESPN uncreated Simmons, choosing not to renew his contract.

At long last, an embarrassing business might have a chance again. 

Bill Simmons is responsible for a lot of things I don't like about sports journalism, but he isn't the person keeping the business of sports journalism in the doldrums. If anyone contributed significantly to this then it was Jay Mariotti with his hateful, reactionary screeds posing as columns and refusal to treat co-workers, athletes or the public's sense of decency with any sense of respect.

The network has only itself to blame, enabling Simmons and turning him loose to the point he was uncontrollable.

I don't know, it seems like Simmons was controlled fairly well by ESPN through the various suspensions and reprimands they imposed on him. He's an opinionated guy who makes an easy target for some within his own organization.

There is a difference between covering sports with fierce independence — my philosophy — and being a megalomaniacal jackass like Simmons, who never took a law class and, thus, didn’t understand why the company suspended him for referring to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as “a liar.”

Jay Mariotti keeps talking about how other writers "haven't ever taken a law class" like this is supposed to be a huge differentiating factor between him and others. Jay Mariotti may have had court-mandated counseling or taken a law class, but this doesn't make him Justice Scalia by any measure. If Jay HAD taken a law class and understood the law then he would understand Bill Simmons calling Goodell "a liar" probably wouldn't meet the level required by law as libel (as a statement made on a broadcast would qualify as being). Whatever though, Jay thinks because he took one law class that he's now qualified to write legal briefs and fancies himself a sort of journalistic Matlock.

Goodell may have lied about what he knew in the Ray Rice case, but Simmons did not have incontrovertible proof, which means the league could have sued the network for megamillions — and may have done so if ESPN wasn’t a broadcasting bedfellow.

If Jay Mariotti had taken more than one law class then he would know that the statement being made by Bill could be seen as an opinion and not a statement of fact (as Bill could easily claim his calling Goodell "a liar" was an opinion). The fact the comment is an opinion can be a defense to libel, and there is a higher threshold for a public figure to prove libel due to the public figure having to prove actual damages. There is a reason President Obama doesn't sue any member of Congress or random person who accuses him of lying and that's because it's a high threshold to meet and not worth his time. The same would go for Roger Goodell. I'm sure Jay knows this since he's taken a single law class and all.

I feel like I'm correct about this libel issue and if there are real attorneys out there who have taken more than one year of law school or a single law class and I am wrong, please do correct me. 

Simmons also was unequipped to be editor-in-chief of — 

I disagree entirely. I have my issues with Bill Simmons, but he's put a really good team around him at Grantland. I don't like every member of the team, but the site is informative even if it's not a huge financial success. Considering Bill had no past experience as an editor-in-chief, he's done a pretty good job at making Grantland what he wants it to be. His writing still sucks of course. Don't get me wrong.

Anyone else would have been fired after the Goodell and transgender mistakes. Simmons kept his job both times only because ESPN president John Skipper doesn’t acknowledge his own errors until he must.

At ESPN, other people who work there have said dumber things on air then to call Roger Goodell "a liar." The transgender thing was a big mistake and representative of Bill's lack of experience as editor-in-chief. That should not have happened. Still, I can't help but think Jay is jealous of Bill and that's why he's writing all of this.

Simmons destroyed the commissioner because he didn’t immediately announce a suspension in the Tom Brady deflated-balls scandal, and while it’s fair to wonder why Goodell is waiting, his weekend pause doesn’t warrant a nuclear explosion.

So Jay thinks Goodell deserved criticism, but not harsh criticism. Because Roger Goodell has dealt with so many issues over the past year in such a way that no harsh criticism of him should be allowed. I'm sure Jay is the guy who thinks he can do criticism without a nuclear explosion. Because Jay has proven he can criticize without his criticism taking on a life of it's own.

I’ve had my squabbles with corporate management. But my complaints were legitimate — 

Everyone thinks their squabbles are legitimate because everyone thinks they are right in these squabbles. No sane person has an issue with management and admits they are wrong the whole time. So yes, I'm sure Jay thinks his complains were legitimate.

a Chicago radio station demanded I sign a sheet of paper that I wouldn’t criticize the Bulls or White Sox, which would have painted me into an ethical corner had I agreed. When I refused, I was fired the day after Christmas. 

Haha! So replace "Chicago radio station" with "ESPN" and replace "criticize the Bulls or White Sox" with "Roger Goodell" and Jay was in the same situation that Bill Simmons was in. Of course he doesn't see it that way, because Jay's complaints are so legit.

My bosses at the Chicago Sun-Times had business ties with certain sports owners in town, and when they asked me to soften my opinions about those owners, I said no.

This is almost the exact same situation that Bill Simmons was in when he was asked by ESPN to soften his opinion on the NFL and Roger Goodell.

By calling him a liar, and then challenging the network to reprimand him after doing so, Simmons no longer was fighting a free-speech war. He was leaving himself vulnerable to a mountainous lawsuit. 

Oh man, but he was not. Again, I recognize Jay has taken a solitary law class, but Roger Goodell was not going to sue ESPN and Bill Simmons for his comments. He has enough PR issues without suing a popular writer for libel. It would be the equivalent of PR suicide to take a public, heavy-handed approach in reaction to what people were saying about him. It wasn't happening, despite Jay's vast legal knowledge saying it would.

Before he works again, the fanboy needs to take a law class or two. The Internet has enabled recklessness by idiot entrepreneurs — such as the assclown at Gawker Media — who think they can publish lies about anyone because it’s difficult for a public figure to win a libel suit against a web publication.

So Jay, with your vast law experience, has a public figure won a libel suit against Gawker media who has published lies? Has it happened?

The Bleacher Report entrepreneurs, too, are sports fans, making them fanboys much like … Bill Simmons. 

Well obviously Bill Simmons is responsible for the success of Bleacher Report and Deadspin. Naturally. Bill has influenced writers, but he's also responsible for some good writing that is being overlooked by Jay in his attempts to crap on every co-worker he's ever worked with. I should feel lucky that Jay isn't still taking a shit on Roger Ebert's grave.

One of America’s best sportswriters, Bob Kravitz, broke the Deflategate story in his new position at an Indianapolis TV station/website. After the Ted Wells report was issued, Kravitz wrote of unprofessionalism he encountered in the New England media the last few months: “The people who disappointed me most were the folks at The [Boston] Globe’s website, They are renowned pom-pom wearers, so it wasn’t a surrpise. But I was struck at the enthusiasm they displayed while carrying the Patriots’ water. It shocked me that a great newspaper like the Boston Globe would employ such rank amateurs and cheerleaders. Sad.” 

Where did Simmons grow up? Boston. 

From who did younger sportswriters learn? Simmons.

Aaron Hernandez was just convicted of murder and may have committed more than one murder, all while playing for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady was revealed to have doctored footballs by deflating them while a member of the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick and the Patriot organization were shown to have been spying on opposing teams several years ago in order to gain an upperhand.

Where did Simmons grow up? Boston. (Except for when he moved to Connecticut of course) What is his favorite NFL team? The New England Patriots. This is not a coincidence either. Bill set up an atmosphere where Aaron Hernandez could commit murder and cheating was acceptable within the Patriots organization.

From whom did Brady, Belichick and Hernandez read glowing words about the organization and it's greatness which caused such hubris? In Bill Simmons' columns.

ESPN also killed sportswriting when it gave a major platform to a statistics geek, Nate Silver, failing to realize that sport is best covered via the exploration of human emotion, not the joyless crunching of numbers.

It's not like Jay is capable of crapping on just one person in a column. He loves to spread his jealously and anger at being rejected by ESPN on every employee within the organization. It's still hilarious to me that Jay holds himself up as this journalistic ideal that every other journalist must meet by getting quotes, taking one law class and exploring human emotion, as if knowing how to say these things means Jay is actually good at doing them.

In the process, the network chased off Rick Reilly, only the greatest sportswriter of his generation and someone who broke news responsibly, covered games and press conferences on site, interviewed subjects, understood libel law and carried the profession with savvy.

Jay is very, very, very concerned about sportswriters knowing libel law. And if making sure while ON-AIR he gets credit for something and plagiarizing his own columns counts as savvy, then Rick Reilly was full of it. Of course, he was also full of something else. 

Next, ESPN is trying an African-American site with an editor, Jason Whitlock, who isn’t liked by many African-American writers

As has been noted repeatedly by Deadspin, but I'm sure Jay would like to gloss over this little fact. 

I appreciated my eight years at ESPN; the TV show was fun, and when I was on, the ratings were much higher and the banter much livelier.


Of course everything was better when Jay Mariotti was around. I wouldn't expect him to believe anything different. Most people believe their time at an organization was the golden era of that organization simply because that's how their own ego tends to view things in a more self-centric way.

It’s a political loony bin where Skipper, like Goodell, can’t maintain consistency in issuing disciplinary punishments. Seems he finally got one right Friday. 

Watch out Jay! I know you know with your vast amount of law classes you have taken that you had better be careful calling Roger Goodell not consistent in his punishment. You wouldn't want to be fired in order to avoid a lawsuit.

And, no, I would not hire Bill Simmons at this news organization if he applied. Our standards are too high. 

I don't like Bill Simmons' writing, but if the "Examiner" was given the option of hiring Simmons, but dumping Mariotti, I think I know which direction they would go in. It's funny that Jay thinks the "Examiner's" standards are too high when his presence at the paper proves this statement as absolutely false. 


North West said...

This article was such a tire fire it is hard to know what is what anymore.

I actually didn't mind reading/listening to a lot of Simmons' material. I appreciated his candor and willingness to state his mind; I also found his opinions fun to enjoy in a somewhat juvenile way (for instance his classic "Who says no?" trade proposals when it was fun to imagine but painfully obvious that one or more parties would say no). I also think his writing style is sloppy, his use of pop culture an unending drain, and his self-aggrandizement very shallow. For these reasons he was one of the few writers that Ben covers on this site that I would read both the primary material and review. It was fun to read his piece, enjoy the absurdity, then doubly appreciate Ben's review. Contrast that to Peter King's MMQB which I can't bring myself to read.

I know that this doesn't go for everyone, but I don't really care about quotes. I don't really get much enjoyment out of them nor feel they add much context. I do enjoy in-depth, candid interviews or anonymous off the record tid bits but I never care much for the pieces that beat writers frame around some flaccid quotes from the podium. I laughed when Brian Windhorst said he wished kids weren't brought to the podium because he claimed fans were missing out on some important, serious quotes. While I don't really care about the issue of kids at all I always enjoy the consternation of some writers denied their access. Reminds me of the Seahawks playoff run when I feel the media cared a LOT more about Lynch not talking than the fans did.

There are too many flaws in this piece to recognize them all, but I feel like his transgender criticism was somewhat unfair. It was definitely a major error on Bill's part but I felt like he owned the mistake and he did run it up the line at ESPN before he published it. Vanderbilt's story is very tragic and it is a terrible shame she took her life, but saying she committed suicide because she was outed isn't exactly true. It was a very unfair thing to happen to her and it no doubt contributed, but she was also likely plagued by the stress of her fabricated professional background (education, job history) which she used to promote her expertise in what she claimed was a revolutionary product. Bill was definitely wrong, and her story is very tragic, I just bring this up because I feel like Jay is somewhat throwing this down on Bill because it helps his point, not that he gives a shit.

Also somewhat out of nowhere was the Nate Silver jab. If you don't appreciate stat-minded pieces fine, but ESPN is clearly just trying to fill a niche. I would say the same about the Undefeated, but Whitlock is a crazy person. Great catch that he basically paraphrased Deadspin's coverage (without credit) while slamming them elsewhere.

Frank said...

I'm not sure which made me laugh harder, this:

"One of America’s best sportswriters, Bob Kravitz"

Or a similar comment made about Reilly further down the page.

Slag-King said...

Simmons destroyed the commissioner because he didn’t immediately announce a suspension in the Tom Brady deflated-balls scandal, and while it’s fair to wonder why Goodell is waiting, his weekend pause doesn’t warrant a nuclear explosion.

The last I checked, GODDELL was still commissioner. So how did Simmons destroy the commissioner with his statement? Wow, did Jay forget to fill his over-the-top hyperbole quotient of the month?