Sherman Report reported on Monday that Mariotti had been brought back by the network.
“ESPN has graciously given me a chance to try freelance storytelling, potentially a longer-form piece the network does so well. I’ve started working on a particular project,” Mariotti told Sherman Report over email.
“I’ve been fortunate to write the columns, do the TV shows, host the radio shows, cover the major events and see the world. I think strong narratives always will stand out in a sports media business swirling in change (not all good). You’re seeing a boom in definitive, longer-form stories for TV and digital. Getting to explore this creative avenue with ESPN, the industry leader, is exactly what interests me right now. I appreciate the opportunity, and we’ll see where it goes from here,” he told the website.
Mariotti’s re-hiring by the network is significant regardless of his role. Mariotti rose to prominence as a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he worked from 1991-2008. His writing led to radio show hosting gigs, and eventually led to him becoming a panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.”
Mariotti was arrested in August, 2010 for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend in a domestic dispute. He avoided jail time by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge a month later. A year later, he pleaded no contest to stalking and assaulting his ex-girlfriend. The new charge stemmed from him confronting his ex-girlfriend on two previous occasions — once on Sep. 30, 2010 (the day he pleaded no contest to the original charge), and on April 15, 2011.
Mariotti has been at the center of several controversies during his career. Former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen ranted about Mariotti in 2006 and later apologized for calling the writer a homosexual slur. Mariotti infamously quit the Chicago Sun-Times in 2008 because he thought the newspaper industry was dying, and he was heavily criticized by his colleagues as a result.