Jay Mariotti: “Roger Ebert Can Kiss My Ass”

Former Chicago sports columnist's feelings apparently still hurt

When former Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti left the struggling paper earlier this year, the Sun-Times threw a veritable celebration. They featured a letter from a reader that said, thanks to Mariotti's departure, the reader would buy the newspaper again. The editor of the Sun-Times wrote a goodbye letter gloating over the dismissal. And the newspaper's monolithic movie reviewer, the renowned Roger Ebert, wrote a scathing critique of Mariotti, accusing Jay of cowardice before telling him to "not let the door hit you on the ass on the way out."

You don't want to mess with Roger Ebert.

Alas, that's exactly what Mariotti did in this interview with Real Clear Sports, wherein, among other nuggets of Mariotti Media Wisdom, he tells Roger Ebert to "kiss my ass." You can hear the class just dripping off the monitor:

It's my life, not theirs. I wrote 5,000 columns for them in 17 years. I wrote on holidays, spent massive amounts of time away from home. Roger Ebert, whom I've met once, can kiss my ass. No one gave more blood to that place than I did, and if I decide it's going to die an imminent death, it's my call. And based on events of the last four months, I couldn't have been more accurate. The place is dead.

This is a new spin, but it's a pretty tremendous one when you think about it: Jay Mariotti, sports columnist, guy paid tons of money to write about sports, is a victim. Right. OK then.

While you're wrapping your head around that, we'll admit that we agree with him on one point. The Sun-Times' behavior after his resignation made the paper look small and childish. We'll give Mariotti that. We'd just like to assert that Mariotti is no one to be pointing fingers about small, childish behavior. He's made an entire career off it, afterall. "Childish" is what pays Jay's bills.

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