UPDATED: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday:
Did Jay Mariotti beat the system? It beat him up pretty good, thanks for asking.
The former Chicago Sun-Times columnist who ventured out to AOL Fanhouse and ESPN “Around The Horn” bellower pleaded no contest today to bargained-down misdemeanor charges of stalking and assault connected with a former girlfriend, and was sentenced to 90 days community service, a year of counseling and five years probation.
Basically, so he could leave it all behind. Somewhat.
Attorney Shawn Holley said her client maintained his innocence and pleaded no contest as a “practical consideration in light of the expense and unpredictability of trial. …
“Although Mr. Mariotti would have liked to have told his side of the story at trial, the fact that he is an accomplished writer provided him another avenue, in this case a book, to tell his side in an unconventional but progressive manner.”
So, as far as the system goes, the last words here will come from Mariotti, in a Kindle, $8.99 version of a 328 KB book he’s written called “The System” (linked here).
The Amazon.com description calls it “a raw, revealing, hold-nothing-back look at his eventful life. Mariotti takes the reader to places most authors do not, detailing his ordeal in a Los Angeles court case — the lies, run-arounds and suspicious machinations involving police, prosecutors, lawyers and a money-seeking opportunist — at a time when the justice system is being examined more critically than ever.
“Mariotti also rewinds a career filled with powerful experiences, fond memories, cautionary tales and a relentless trail of tumult and personal hardship. Whether he’s maneuvering through the corruption of the Chicago media industry, covering the rock-star career of Jordan, enduring a heart attack while on assignment in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans or dealing with a homophobic slur that became a national story, Mariotti recounts his three decades in journalism, including his travels around the world while following the biggest events, greatest athletes and most notable stories. He is a survivor who cuts through the traditional filters of his industry — and the one he covers — to deliver what people should know about sports, the media, the legal system and life in 21st-century America.”
Mariotti emailed us a copy of the book in PDF form, and we’ve started reading.
Ever see the movie “Something Wild” with Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith in 1986? There’s a starting point.
Mariotti describes his something of a mid-life crisis, escapes Chicago for L.A., gets involved with a woman, and his life is turned upside down because he stepped in a trap.
This is his account of the whole thing, starting with a chapter that reads “Used and Abused” and begins:
“At this point I might suggest children turn away and watch ‘Glee.’ I am exposing intimate details of a difficult relationships, a hard lesson for those too trusting about romance and shortsighted motives.”
Mariotti explains how between the legal system and this woman, he probably spent more than $700,000 to try to get himself free — that includes losing three jobs along the way, including a sports-talk gig at 710-AM KSPN.
You can follow him on a new (for legal reasons) Twitter account — @MariottiJ — where just a few minutes ago he wrote: “The book should answer all questions and serves as a cautionary tale for those in the public eye in the 21st century.”
We’ll talk to him as soon as we’re finished with the manuscript.