So I go out of town for a few days and miss the big sports story. No, not that story. This one.

What’s interesting about the Jay Mariotti story isn’t the facts. Or even the arrest. It’s the glee with which just about everyone has greeted the news.

Apparently this guy has no friends. Not among the community of athletes, coaches, and managers that he’s made his living writing and talking about. Not among his colleagues in the media. Even his co-commentators on ESPN‘s Around the Horn said they weren’t surprised by the sports world’s response to his arrest. One even said that Mariotti will “have to start rethinking how he goes about his business.”

It’s fitting to talk about this on a day that I participated in a tweetchat on the topic of “popularity versus influence.” See, Mariotti was influential (how else could he engender this much vitriol?). But he certainly wasn’t popular.

Business can be competitive. But it shouldn’t be mean. We always talk about the importance of community. That being helpful and giving back matter.

Here’s what you risk when you treat people as disposable. Or even just when they think you have.

Photo by Meddy Garnet (Flickr).