While Jay Mariotti’s fellow travelers in the world of Conflict Resolution, Ozzie Guillen and Ken Harrelson, remain gainfully employed as of this writing, the former Sun-Times columnist turned latter-day AOL blogger is finding redemption a tad elusive. As most of the sports media is well aware, Mariotti was charged with felony domestic assault in August of last year, and if we’re to believe Los Angeles police, he’s since violated terms of plea agreement previously reached in that case. From the LA Times’ Andrew Blakstein :
Mariotti pleaded not guilty Wednesday to stalking, corporal injury on a spouse or domestic partner, and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order. If convicted, he faces up to five years in state prison. His next court date is June 1 before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz.
In addition to confronting his ex-girlfriend at a restaurant Sept. 30 — the day he pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence — prosecutors said he argued with his former girlfriend again outside of a Venice restaurant April 15. He allegedly pulled a chunk of her hair out and grabbed her cellphone, while shouting at her, prosecutors said.
As part of a deal reached in the original case with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, six other misdemeanor counts against Mariotti were dismissed — four domestic-violence-related counts, grand theft and false imprisonment.
In that case, Mariotti avoided jail time and was instead placed on three years’ probation and required to perform 40 days of community service. He was ordered to complete a 52-week domestic violence course and stay away from the victim. He could face county jail time in connection for violating probation.
Mascara jokes aside, it’s hard to call Mariotti’s precipitous slide a fall from grace. There was little grace nor an overflow of empathy in his writing or televised rants, but just for a split second, let’s try to refrain from gloating — that would be a little too Jay Mariotti for comfort. Neither a 2007 health scare nor last August’s legal woes provided an adequate wake up call for a man whose public meltdown is no less pathetic/pathological than that of Charlie Sheen, albeit not nearly as well financed. Had even a semi-prominent professional athlete engaged in the sort of behavior Mariotti’s accused of, the journalist would have been one of the first to insist there was no place for such an individual in polite society. He wouldn’t have been wrong, either. Let’s hope Mariotti receives some real help this time around, if not for his sake, then for that of any women who’ve yet to be on the receiving end of his debating skills.