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Sportswriter Shuffle At Trib

By Marcus Gilmer in Miscellaneous on Dec 8, 2009 5:20PM

Rick Morrissey
Last week, word came down that the Tribune's Rick Morrissey was leaving the sports pages of the Trib to join up with the rival Sun-Times. Of course, as soon as Morrissey was out the door, you can guess who's name came up right away in whispered speculation: yep, Mariotti. We've been down this road before and, as Crain's Ed Sherman tells it, while Mariotti may be gung-ho to relocate to the Tribune Tower, the bridge there remains charred and smoking.

"I've enjoyed my meetings with Trib executives," Mr. Mariotti wrote. He shouldn't wait for his phone to ring. Apparently, Mr. Mariotti has burned too many bridges with the "Tribsters," as he used to call them.

Earlier this fall, the Tribune complained to AOL, where Mr. Mariotti now writes a column, that he used a quote from a Phil Hersh story in the Tribune about the Olympics without attribution. AOL took care of the matter. The incident, though, further solidified the anti-Mariotti sentiment within the Tower.

"The Tribune is not interested in hiring Jay Mariotti," said Mike Kellams, associate managing editor for sports.

Mariotti defended himself to Sherman and even accused the Trib of shenanigans that ended with Jay saying of the Trib, "Don't think I want to work for these creeps." Ooooookaaaaaay.

Jason Whitlock
Anyway! One name that Sherman throws out as a legitimate potential replacement is the Kansas City Star's Jason Whitlock. Whitlock, who also writes for Fox Sports, is no stranger to controversy himself. Whitlock has separated himself from the blowhard sportswriters that dominate the landscape these days and with his writing, you actually feel as if he believes what he's writing (for example: this excellent piece on the media and Tiger Woods or this one regarding the Rush Limbaugh/NFL controversy in which Whitlock *gasp* actually owns up to his own missteps) and isn't doing it to get himself on some awful talking head television show (PTI being an exception) even if we don't necessarily always agree with his point of view; he's light-years beyond Mariotti. Of course, this is all speculation but it'd be a shrewd move on the Trib's part: a talented writer who stirs the pot and gets people talking? It's a win-win that more than fills the hole Morrissey left.