ESPN Personality Arrested, Sporting World Celebrates Appropriately

August 23, 2010

Love may bring people together, but unabashed hate will make sure they have something to talk about while doing so. That’s why over the weekend, the somewhat shocking arrest of America’s least favorite sports writer had everybody from Chad Ochocinco to Roger Ebert basking in the glow of a domestic abuse charge.

Jay Mariotti, a featured guest on ESPN’s Around the Horn and controversial columnist on AOL’s Fanhouse, spent some time greeting fans at a Los Angeles area jail after being arrested for jealousy. (Or, as the Sherriff’s department called it, “felony abuse.”)

According to The Wall Street Journal, here’s what happened:

Mariotti was arguing with his girlfriend at a club in California early on Saturday morning. The two continued home, and cops were called to the scene, where Mariotti’s girlfriend—who has not been identified—was discovered to allegedly have cuts and bruises from a physical altercation with Mariotti. He was arrested on felony domestic abuse charges and released on $50,000 bail. Both ESPN and Fanhouse said they would be looking into the incident before making any decision on Mariotti’s future.

After this news broke, things took an interesting turn.

Rather than report the facts or bemoan violence against women, the sporting world decided to take a somewhat different approach.

“Lets see if they crucify their own like they do us,” tweeted Chad Ochocinco.

“The vitriolic reaction to Mariotti’s misery frightened me,” said ESPN colleague Dan LeBetard after putting down his thesaurus.

“Pop some champagne and kiss a stranger on the street,” a headline read on the front of

Granted, Mariotti seems like the kind of guy who spent his childhood torturing small animals and uttering the phrase “I’ll show them all” while serving punch alone at the prom, but it seems as if we should wait to see if he’s found guilty before eviscerating him in the press.

As someone whose business cards say “kind of a journalist,” I’m intrigued by this national backlash. Yes, he is accused of hitting a woman, which is undoubtedly wrong. But shouldn’t the sporting world wait until he’s convicted before raising a glass to his demise?

Or, is the irony of watching someone who takes pleasure in other's pain getting a taste of his own critical medicine nothing short of karmic justice?

Either way, Tony Reali is going to have one hell of a Monday.

Photo: Alexander Tomarto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images