Jay Mariotti, host of Unmuted, a national daily podcast on iTunes, GooglePlay, etc., is at last check haranguing SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt about a tweet the latter sent last fall. By the sound of things this matter is getting pretty serious.
Van Pelt has taken a cavalier attitude toward the whole thing, as though the fate of a multi-billion-dollar media company were not hanging in the balance.
It is not immediately clear which of Van Pelt’s tweets is the one that will cause ownership of ESPN to transfer from the Disney Corporation to Jay Mariotti, but it seems reasonable to guess Mariotti is referring to this one:
In 2011, The Los Angeles Times reported Mariotti, “pleaded no contest … to stalking and assault-related charges in exchange for community service and probation.” This would seem to put Mariotti in a difficult position from a rhetorical perspective. To win what I’m assuming he’s imagining as a libel case against ESPN, Mariotti would need to prove that Van Pelt published something about Mariotti that was false. That’s if the court didn’t consider Mariotti a public figure. If it did (it would), Mariotti would, on top of that, have to show that Van Pelt had malicious intent — he knew the information was false, and he did it to injure Mariotti. Considering the no-contest plea entered into a public courtroom to charges of, “stalking, corporal injury on a spouse or domestic partner, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order,” Mariotti may need a clever attorney.
Nonetheless, he remains confident.
One might even say defiant.