Blackistone: Envy, Ego Fueling Mariotti Criticism?

The first new airing of ESPN’s Around The Horn went off today without regular panelist Jay Mariotti - who has effectively been suspended from the show. During today’s production, host Tony Reali quizzed panelists about media reaction to Mariotti’s recent arrest for felony domestic assault.

Kevin Blackistone's reaction to media reaction to Mariotti felony arrest

No surprises in the reax from panelists Bob Ryan and Woody Paige. Both were as candid as could be expected under the circumstances. Kevin Blackistone though did raise an interesting point about the motivation of Mariotti’s critics:

“I’m not really surprised Tony, Jay has always been a polarizing figure. There’s a lot of ego and envy in this business of sports commentating. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable that he’s risen as he has by being such a provocateur and always telling other people what to do and how they should run their lives and how they should be treated thereafter.
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AOL-Suspended Mariotti Now Also Off-Air At ESPN

AOL Fanhouse lead columnist and ESPN Around The Horn panelist Jay Mariotti was disconnected from the media grid by his current employers today.

Jay Mariotti

An AOL spokesperson told SI’s Richard Deitsch Thursday morning that Mariotti was suspended indefinitely from his Fanhouse duties:

We are continuing to gather all the facts. In the meantime, we have suspended Jay Mariotti and are not featuring any new work from him.

After the AOL statement, I asked ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz about the status of Mariotti at the network. Krulewitz replied, “he (Mariotti) is not scheduled to be on (Around The Horn) next week.”When I asked Krulewitz if Mariotti’s absence was related to his arrest in Los Angeles last week, he declined comment.

Jay Mariotti column readers AOL Fanhouse

Mariotti was arrested and charged with felony domestic assault in L.A. on Saturday morning after an alleged altercation with his girlfriend. The police report from the incident has not yet been made public by the Los Angeles Police Dept. Read more…

Poll: Worst Around The Horn Halloween Costumes

The contenders from today:

Around The Horn Halloween Contest

I’ll take Reali. Really outdid himself this year. TV show host? Get out!

Worst costume on ESPN’s Around The Horn today:

View Results

Goes without saying that nobody topped Woody going as Julia Child last year.

Woody Paige as Julia Child

Nailed it my man! (Though a pronounced, disconcerting stoop would’ve be a nice touch.)

Larger photos of today’s costumes after the jump. Read more…

PTI Overtakes SportsCenter In Ratings, Revenue

You may or may not know who Mark Shapiro is, but he’s the guy who went from Jim Rome’s lowly production assistant in the early days of ESPN2 to the head of network programming in less than 10 years.

PTI has bigger ratings than SportsCenter

(I refuse to give PTI the nod until Tony K. wraps the wraparound)

As head of ESPN on-air conent from 2002-05, Shapiro created some duds, like those lame ESPN movies and Stephen A. Smith, and current ESPN upper management has quite obviously done plenty to distance itself from many of Shapiro’s initiatives. But Shapiro also masterminded many of the net’s signature properties, like the X Games, ESPY Awards and what has become ESPN’s top in-house broadcast property - Pardon The Interruption.

We all remember when PTI debuted. The over-the-top, sometimes nonsensical graphics & countdown clocks, bizarre between commercial look-ins and two well-aged gents no one had heard of outside The District.

Fast forward to today and according to more than one ESPN source, PTI regularly averages more viewers than SportsCenter and also enjoys a higher ad revenue base. And another bizarro Shapiro concoction, Around The Horn, isn’t far behind. Read more…

I’m Hoping Snoop Has No Concealed Carry Permit

Chris Mottram of THE SPORTING BLOG watches “Around The Horn” so we don’t have to. Turns my favorite rapper turned porn producer, Calvin Broadus (Snoop Dogg), appeared on the show this week, perched like a parrot on J.A. Adande’s clavicle.

Snoop Dogg attacked by Woody Paige on Around The Horn

To open the show, host Tony Reali “muted” a generally incoherent Broadus (granted, it was after he was done talking). Then we found out that apparently dain-bramaged Woody Paige is off the Lithium, as he unloaded a senseless verbal beatdown on recent fire damage victim.

If you’re in line at the DMV, or getting a head start on your taxes, you might enjoy the video (after the jump). Read more…

Brog: Erin Andrews’ How-To On ‘Caress Me Down’

Interesting photo (with my goofy inset) of Erin Andrews I hadn’t seen before:

Erin Andrews Kung Fu Grip

(‘Should’ve never told Tebow the interview was uncut and uncensored. Nuts!’)

Nice to see The Grip™ is back! And of course, The Grip™ takes on a whole different meaning depending on the context.

BTW, leave your own caption in the comment thread if you please.

From the I’m-Not-Making-This-Up-Dept.: SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY reports that Stats LLC today unveiled “a joint venture with Naveen Aranha, CEO of India-based Sportz Interactive, to create Stats Middle East.

The operation will be headquartered in Dubai, and the move continues a marked global expansion for the sports data provider that last year opened a European operation and also has made significant inroads into India, China and Japan.

STATS Middle East? That no doubt means President Bush is soon to be confirmed as the only man on the planet with a lower save percentage than Joe Borowski.

As you know, we’ve quite the homeless problem here on the westside of Los Angeles.

Kim Kardashian Blocks Out The Sun

And then there’s the bums.

Oh man, DEADSPIN’s A.J. Daulerio today has a deconstructive dissertation that unloads on Rick Reilly - much like Rick Majerus after unscrambling Cinemax at the local La Quinta. Read more…

Bill Plaschke: Print’s Patron Saint Of Lost Causes

Congratulations to Bill Plaschke, who won another sports column writing award from the Associated Press Sports Editors this week. Note Plaschke’s comments in accepting the award:

Bill Plaschke

(Fight“? What for?)

We loved newspapers growing up. As a kid, we learned to read hovering over a KC Star sports page on the kitchen table every morning. But sadly, we all know it’s pretty much over for newspapers as we know it. At least in the form of what hits the driveway every morning. We’ve been saying it for some time now (we know, everyone has).

Newspapers Ad Revenue Down 50%

(Ooof: Thank god for ‘Around The Horn’!)

For old-timers, the internet has completely ruined the media business. We all know that people now want their information now - something offline papers can’t provide. But more importantly, people want it good.

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