Sources: Kevin Blackistone Spurns Sporting News

Last month I reported that Sporting News agreed to pay AOL $5 million to axe its Fanhouse sports website.

Kevin Blackistone turns down Sporting News

(Sources: Sporting News Editor In Chief ’s Staff Won’t Include Blackistone)

Around the time of that news - two weeks before  AOL CEO Tim Armstrong paid $315 million for HuffingtonPost.com - the AOL CEO said of 100 or so Fanhouse sports journalists:

“We are going to be working with AOL employees on Fanhouse, you have my personal word on that. The focus on Fanhouse … Fanhouse is not going away. Brand and bunch of staffing will be staying around.”

On job cuts at Fanhouse, PaidContent.Org reported Armstrong claiming at the same time that there “could be none“:

Armstrong said that a “couple dozen” jobs on the high end might be lost at FanHouse. He did not divulge how much the company would save by aggregating this outside content. He later added that there was no decision yet on job cuts at FanHouse. “It could be none.

With Fanhouse scheduled to be eliminated from AOL’s website on March 1, more details are emerging on what Armstrong and Editor in Chief at Sporting News Garry Howard’s “bunch of staffing” will entail. Read more…

Sporting News Paid AOL Millions To Drop Fanhouse

Last Thursday I reported on the essential elimination of AOL Fanhouse, with the Fanhouse brand being folded into a Sporting News portal that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong elected to install as its website’s new sports content provider.

Sporting News Headline

 (Sporting News paying AOL millions? That’s no typo.)

After the Sporting News on AOL partnership was announced last Thursday, David Kaplan of PaidContent.org had this from Armstrong on the prospect of Fanhouse job cuts:

During the Q&A session following Armstrong’s intro, our Staci D. Kramer asked what the cost savings would be and how many jobs might be affected. Armstrong said that a “couple dozen” jobs on the high end might be lost at FanHouse. He did not divulge how much the company would save by aggregating this outside content. He later added that there was no decision yet on job cuts at FanHouse. “It could be none,” he said.”

On the contrary, I’ve learned that of around 100 fulltime positions at Fanhouse, less than 10 will be retained by AOL. Kevin Blackistone, Terence Moore and Lisa Olson will be among the precious few kept on. The other surviving positions are likely to be staffed by columnists. Of roughly 100 AOL Fanhouse jobs, 26 included benefits.

The Sporting News will likely decide if it will hire any of the former AOL employees by the end of next week.

During his conference call to announce the effective dissolution of Fanhouse, Armstrong said of AOL handing over its sports biz to Sporting News: “Partnerships are based on our ability to offer partners (Sporting News) traffic. … (AOL) will make money doing it.

That is essentially why the deal happened.

Read more…

What If Jay Mariotti Deleted His Twitter Account

And nobody noticed?

Jay Mariotti deletes Twitter account, and no one notices

(Awright awright, not exactly Nostradamus)

Two weeks since I Tweeted the above message, Mariotti has already gone Petrino on his rapidly disintegrating Twitter fanbase. Read more…

Mariotti Officially Confirmed Out At AOL, ESPN

Five days after pleading no contest - which has the same effect as pleading guilty - to a Los Angeles Criminal Court charge of domestic violence against his girlfriend, Jay Mariotti is officially out at AOL Fanhouse and ESPN.

In the immediate wake of his girlfriend’s attorney alleging that Mariotti struck his client in the face, the former ESPN Around The Horn panelist confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that he was no longer in the employ of AOL. Last week I reported that Mariotti would not return to ESPN and that his hasty plea bargain was designed as a last ditch effort to save his job at Fanhouse.

Following his court appearance last week, Mariotti attorney Nick Hanna called his client’s case resolution, “a no contest plea to a low-level misdemeanor.”

Attorney Leonard Levine, who represented Mariotti’s girlfriend, told the LOS ANGELES TIMES that Hanna characterizing his client’s crime as “low-level” was, “demeaning to women who face domestic abuse.

Levine added of Mariotti to the L.A. Times:

Mariotti struck his girlfriend in the face, which resulted in a visible bruise. Mariotti also grabbed and pulled his girlfriend by the hair, destroyed her personal property, and attempted to prevent her from escaping and calling police, according to Levine. Ultimately, he said, a bystander witnessed what was going on and called police.

Read more…

Lawyer: “Mariotti struck his girlfriend in the face”

More details continue to bleed out about Jay Mariotti’s allegedly violent confrontation with his girlfriend the night of August 21 in Los Angeles.

Jay Mariotti Criminal Complaint

(Official criminal complaint against Mariotti)

As part of a plea bargain on Thursday Mariotti, pleaded no contest - which has the same effect as a guilty plea -to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge against his girlfriend in exchange for the L.A. City Attorney dropping six additional charges involving or related to domestic violence. Mariotti was sentenced to community service, three years probation and ordered to take a year-long domestic violence awareness class.

Mariotti was initially arrested on suspicion of felony domestic assault. He was released from jail the morning of August 22 on $50,000 bail.

Following Mariotti’s no contest plea, the attorney for the now-acknowledged victim has come forward with new details of what allegedly happened during the altercation on the night in question.

The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports lawyer Leonard Levine said that Mariotti was “both emotional and verbal abuse” to his client. Read more…

Fanhouse Lobbies AOL Execs To Keep Jay Mariotti

Yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, ESPN and AOL employee Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest, which has the effect of a guilty plea, to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against his girlfriend as part of a plea bargain to avoid jail time.

Jay Mariotti column readers AOL Fanhouse

(Clues as to how AOL Fanhouse readers would react to Mariotti’s return)

Before his August 21 arrest that led to Thursday’s plea bargain, Mariotti was a fulltime panelist on ESPN’s Around The Horn and lead columnist for AOL Fanhouse.

Since Mariotti’s plea bargain to avoid jail time, I’ve talked to several sources at ESPN and AOL Fanhouse about the prospect of Mariotti maintaining his jobs at the two media companies.

Multiple sources at ESPN have confirmed to me that Mariotti is finished at the network. The only remaining question in Bristol regarding Mariotti is how company executives will handle the release of the news. Mariotti is a contract employee at ESPN, meaning he’s paid per appearance and has no binding contract with the network for future work.

Without Mariotti under contract, one could make the argument that ESPN is under no obligation to do any more than what it did yesterday regarding Mariotti. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said after Mariotti’s plea bargain, “We have no current plans to use him at this time.

“At this time” does leave the door cracked, but I’ve been told that Mariotti will not return to Around The Horn nor appear on any ESPN production in the future.

AOL Fanhouse though is, from what I’ve been told, taking a different tack on Mariotti’s future employ. Read more…

Mariotti Schadenfreude Attracts Adult Demographic

No surprise that the news of Jay Mariotti’s domestic violence conviction today seems to be appealing to a distinctly adult demographic. (And I don’t mean 25-to-54.)

Porn performer Lisa Ann Tweets about Mariotti conviction

(Nailin’ Jay M.? .. Anyone?)

For some reason though I had her pegged as a Wilbon kinda gal.

Mariotti Plea Bargains, Remains Benched By ESPN

Today in Los Angeles Superior Court, ESPN Around the Horn commentator and AOL Fanhouse columnist Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest, which has the effect of a guilty plea, to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against his girlfriend in exchange for the L.A. City Attorney dropping six additional charges against him stemming from his August 21 domestic violence arrest in Los Angeles.

Jay Mariotti

In other words, Mariotti did not contest that he committed domestic violence against his girlfriend on the night in question.

Mariotti’s attorney Nick Hanna said of the plea bargain, “Today’s resolution — a no contest plea to a low-level misdemeanor with all of the other charges dismissed — ends the matter once and for all.

An L.A. law enforcement source very familiar with the case told me today that Hanna’s comment was a misrepresentation of the seriousness of the charge that Mariotti did not contest.

Jay Mariotti Criminal Complaint

You can read about the extent of the charges against Mariotti in the original criminal complaint filed by the L.A. City Attorney here.
Read more…

Document: Official Jay Mariotti Criminal Complaint

Today I obtained the criminal complaint filed by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office this week in response to Jay Mariotti’s August 21 arrest following an alleged altercation with his girlfriend. The documents include the seven misdemeanor charges against the ESPN and AOL sports commentator and shed light on the exact nature of what Mariotti has been charged with by the L.A. City Attorney.

Jay Mariotti Criminal Complaint

From the documents, here’s a short summary of what Mariotti is charged with:

  • Willfully inflicting” a “corporal injury” resulting in the “traumatic condition” of his girlfriend.
  • Willfully” using “force and violence” against his girlfriend. (Attempting violence or promoting the fear of it.)
  • Willfully” taking his girlfriend’s “purse and keys.
  • Willfully violating the personal liberty” of his girlfriend. (False imprisonment.)
  • Of his girlfriend’s cellphone, Mariotti is accused of “willfully and maliciously defacing” it “with graffiti and other inscribed material” in addition to “damaging and destroying the cellphone.

Each of the seven misdemeanor charges carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison upon conviction.

Below is the entire criminal complaint: Read more…

Mariotti ‘could face up to seven years behind bars’

TMZ.com and the L.A. TIMES report this afternoon that Jay Mariotti has been charged with seven misdemeanors relating to his August 21 arrested for an alleged domestic disturbance with his girlfriend.

Jay Mariotti

The myriad charges came from the L.A. City Attorney’s office after the L.A. County District Attorney elected to not charge Mariotti with a felony. The L.A. City Attorney can only bring misdemeanor charges, not felonies.

Andrew Blankfein of the LOS ANGELES TIMES writes of the charges: Read more…