Jay Mariotti and the 10 Biggest Bullies in Sports Media

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2010

Jay Mariotti and the 10 Biggest Bullies in Sports Media

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    Jay Mariotti's arrest in Los Angeles following a domestic dispute leaves the sports media with a huge void that won't be easy to fill.

    One of the most annoying sports media personalities is going to be away for a while.

    Don't worry, there are still plenty of self-righteous columnists and arrogant on-air "talent" ready to impart their pearls of wisdom onto you every single day.

    Here's a look at 10 of the Biggest Bullies in the magical world of sports media.

10. Woody Paige

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    Woody Paige might come across as a wacky old dude, who doesn't have much pull in the world, but his contributions to ESPN offer a glimpse into a mind that is filled with very little substance.

    The nature of his work requires him to spew opinions on all subjects, a skill absent in many of the employees of the Boo-Yah network.

    Why is it that all columnists and ESPN contributors have such an enormous ego?

No. 9: Charles Barkley

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Sir Charles makes the list not for his history of throwing civilians through windows or other such incidents, but more for his willingness to speak his mind on just about anything.

    In some ways, Barkley's candor is a breath of fresh air in what has become a stagnant media climate. 

    At the same time, the scope of his knowledge doesn't expand as far beyond the basketball court as he thinks it does.

    And if an argument breaks out, Barkley won't take no for an answer and will bully anyone who disagrees with him into submission.

    Barkley's criticism of "The Decision" will be an interesting subplot to follow as the NBA season gets underway.

No. 8: Stu Scott

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    Stu Scott will not allow you to ignore his bigger than life on-air personality.  He is the type of bully that forces you to embrace his annoying behavior, whether you want to or not.

    His trademarked "Boo-Ya" is only the beginning.  His attempts at working in hip quotes you might come across in an Iceberg Slim novel has become grating and abrasive over the years.

    It's clearly more about style than substance with Scott, who in many ways has come to represent what ESPN has become.

No. 7: Jim Gray

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    Unlike some of his counterparts on this list, Jim Gray is actually a talented journalist and reporter.  That's precisely why he makes the cut.

    Gray is never afraid to ask the tough questions to stir the pot.  His latest controversy involves Corey Pavin's apparent guarantee of a spot on the Ryder Cup team, to a struggling Tiger Woods, which has created a war of words between the normally mild-mannered Pavin and the generally calm Gray.

    But behind his stoic exterior, Gray has a ruthless sense of the moment.  That's why he ambushed Pete Rose in Game 2 of the 1999 World Series with this question.

    "Pete, let me ask you now. It seems as though there is an opening, the American public is very forgiving. Are you willing to show contrition, admit that you bet on baseball, and make some sort of apology to that effect?"

    Rose, who was being honored after being named as a member of Major League Baseball's All-Century team, wanted no part of answering the question.

    The impact of the aggressive line of questions many people deemed inappropriate caused Gray to issue an apology and the Yankees to snub Gray's request for interviews during the World Series.

    One way or another, Gray always seems to find what he is looking for.

No. 6: Jason Whitlock

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    Anyone who has read Jason Whitlock's columns knows that the man clearly has an opinion about everything.  He is also not afraid to call out his counterparts in the media, or anyone in the world, for that matter.

    In the aftermath of "The Decision," Whitlock criticized the spectacle on every level. 

    He told WSCR-Sports Radio-670 Chicago that the biggest mystery was how "an out of work, freelance journalist" like Jim Gray would be able to convince one of the brightest stars in the world to profess his free agent decision to him on live television.

    He followed up his statements by saying, "I really like Jim Gray."

    Apparently not enough to avoid throwing him under the bus.

No. 5: Jay Mariotti

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    The worst thing about many of ESPN's personalities is the hypocrisy they exhibit on a daily basis.

    In the case of Mariotti, he has ripped at least six professional athletes, including Jason Kidd, Albert Belle, and Scottie Pippen after they were involved in domestic disputes.

    It's simply time to eat those words.

No. 4: Skip Bayless

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    It's hard to be a bully when nobody listens to what you say, but Skip Bayless pulls it off.

    Bayless has been critical of just about everybody during his tenure at ESPN, and has quickly lost any and all respect he gained during his career as a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and San Jose Mercury News.

No. 3: Stephen A. Smith

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    Stephen A. Smith was so annoying and abrasive that ESPN let him walk away.

    Smith has made a name for himself by spouting opinions loudly with his brow furrowed angrily. 

    He has rubbed plenty of people the wrong way throughout his career, including his bosses at the Philadelphia Inquirer and ESPN.

    Smith has been banished to a morning show on Fox Sports Radio, where he continues to spew his wisdom onto the masses.

No. 2: Chris Berman

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    The face of a bully, Boomer has provided visual evidence that he is a difficult man to work with.  He has also shown that he is a less than competent broadcaster.

    Berman has been with ESPN since the beginning and has grown into a household name through his signature "Back-Back-Back" calls and less-than-clever nicknames for athletes.

    He has also been exposed as an angry, egomaniac personality who doesn't like others to make him look bad.

No. 1: Jim Rome

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    Unlike some of the others on this list, Jim Rome's job is to make people mad.

    Rome has toned down his act and become slightly more credible in recent years, but it's difficult to forget his famous confrontation with Jim Everett.

    There's nothing better than an arrogant, uninformed reporter trying to incite the masses.