Chicago sports personality Jay Mariotti has officially that he will no longer make references to an incident in which White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen slurred the columnist with a term that insults homosexuals.
After 42 columns and 157 Around The Horn appearances talking about Guillen's profanity, Mariotti has decided to move on and write about something new.
Mariotti, who makes a living by insulting people from a distance, admitted that it took a great deal of courage for him to cease any mention of the incident that has become known as "fag-gate."
"Definitely, it's been hard for me this past year or so," Mariotti said, his father Geno gently stroking his well-manicured hair. Jay had to take a moment to sob quietly, shaken by the trauma of June 2006.
In June of '06, Mariotti had written a column critical of Guillen, who allegedly told a rookie pitcher to purposely hit an opposing batter in retaliation for a similar incident earlier in the game.
In a press conference a short time later, Guillen launched into his most truthful conversation to date, in which he called Mariotti, paraphrasing, a "(bleeping) bundle of sticks."
This naturally prompted Mariotti, who has referred to former Sox slugger Frank Thomas as "the big skirt" and former Bears coach Mike Ditka as "limp Ditka" in print, to show Guillen the error of publicly insulting someone's manhood. He demanded that Guillen be suspended for several games and also demanded a public apology from the White Sox organization.
"What people don't understand about me is that I'm a columnist," Mariotti said, wiping tears from his eyes. "Why should I face the people I write about? Why should I ask athletes any questions when I can have my intern do that for me?"
Taking a moment to compose himself, Jay continued. "This is about my resolve, my journalistic integrity, the integrity of all journalism," he said. "If I talk to someone face to face, I compromise my ability to criticize them from afar. And you have to be able to take criticism in this city."
When asked how fair it was for him to duck criticism, Mariotti started to cry again, begging for Geno to console him.
What's next for the self-proclaimed king of Chicago media? "Well, I've been harassing Lou Piniella from afar lately, so I'm hoping that he'll give me column material to rehash for another five years," Mariotti said.