Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Friday, June 23, 2006

Lost among the epithets

Besides the obvious offensiveness of Ozzie Guillen's choice of insult for Jay Mariotti, what's unfortunate about him using such a slur is that it obscures a very valid criticism. If a sportswriter or columnist is going to bash someone in print, he or she should have the guts to face that person in the locker room the next day. And if Mariotti can dish it out, but can't take it, he deserves to be ripped for that.

Look, my sportswriting experience is limited. I know that. You know that. But it's given me an idea of how the job works. And sometimes, answering for your words is part of that - especially when you're expressing your opinions.

On his old radio show, Tony Kornheiser occasionally talked about the confrontations he had with Charles Mann and Darrell Green in the Redskins locker room. No, it wasn't easy, and he was scared a few times, but that's what (good) sportswriters do. And on his show yesterday, the Detroit News' Terry Foster mentioned an argument he had with the Lions' Brett Perriman, after he blamed the receiver for losing a game.

Should you take a bucket of ice water over your head, as Mitch Albom once did from the Tigers' Guillermo Hernandez? Of course not. But if you take a shot at someone, you'd better be in that locker room the next day to face up to it. Otherwise, you're not going to earn any respect from the people you cover or your colleagues.

Want an example of that? Check out the column from Mariotti's cross-town rival, Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune, in today's edition. To paraphrase the article, showing up and taking your punches is a badge of honor among sports columnists. If you're not doing that, you're not a columnist, you're essentially a blogger. The only difference between Mariotti and many of us who post our opinions most days is that he travels to the events.

And if you read and watch the reports and columns on this story, you'll see writers and analysts taking offense to Guillen's remarks and half-hearted apologies, but you won't see too many - if any - defenses of Mariotti. It's too bad that's not the story being written.

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  • At June 23, 2006 11:53 AM, Blogger Big Al said…

    I find it amazing that ChiSox fans have the attitude that since it was Mariotti who was slurred, they think that Guillen was in the right because, in their clueless minds, Mariotti had it coming to him.

    Honestly, I think the ChiSox, their fans, and Mariotti deserve each other. They are all insufferable...

    And for Bud-lite not to suspend Guillen? I don't get MLB at all. Say what you will about the NBA, you think David Stern would put up with Guillen's crap?

  • At June 25, 2006 11:33 PM, Blogger Sam said…

    I think the Chicago fans' take on this (and, as near as I can tell, it's the same for pretty much everyone in the WrongSox organization itself) is that Guillen used the wrong word to describe Mariotti, but if he'd said 'asshole' or 'jerkoff' or somesuch, he would've been dead-on. I agree with that.

    Put Ozzie and Shea Hillenbrand in a room together and hit them over the head with fungo bats until they realize that gay is OK. But by all means, insult Mariotti some more. Just use terms that everyone can enjoy.

  • At June 26, 2006 12:51 PM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Tell me again that Mariotti "doesn't want to be the news"?

    Then why do you keep writing about it, Jay?

    He's lapping up the attention like an alcoholic holding up the bottle of vodka for those last few, sweet drops.


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