Featured, Race & Politics, Sports

Jason Whitlock Needs A Friend (A Clue, A Seat, And Jesus Too, But Mostly Just A Friend)

It feels counter-intuitive to muster much sympathy for a man who has literally made millions of dollars in his professional career by hawking Sbarro-heated-lamp-temperature takes on race and pop culture to the highest possible bidders and lowest possible denominators. And who was given the keys to the greatest resourced Black digital publication ever but was so incompetent, paranoid, and self-destructive that they had to fire him before it launched to prevent him from sabotaging it. He was hired to be an architect but proved to be an arsonist. And who has burned so many bridges with his relentless streams of low-information bombast bukkake (ht Huny) that in order for him to burn another bridge he’d have to build it himself first.

But as his name trended for most of the day yesterday for A) criticizing Lebron’s response to “nigger” spray-painted on his fence, B) dismissing racism as something only poor Black people need to worry about, and C) peppering his diarrhea of consciousness by comparing himself to Oprah (???), my first response was pity. I know, from pieces I’ve read about Whitlock, pieces I’ve read by Whitlock, and conversations I’ve had with people who know him, that he desperately wants to be considered a thought leader. Someone who cultivates, incubates, and creates the types of pieces and opinions and words and ideas that stand the test of time. He wants to be taken seriously. And the terribly stupid things he says and does are a mark of a man who recognizes those goals are far out of his reach, but still attempts to grasp for relevance, like a pit bull chasing behind a fucking Ferrari. Extending the car metaphor, he’s an 1998 Altima who wishes to be an Aston Martin. And knows he’s not and will never be an Aston Martin. But puts Aston rims on his tires and an Aston emblem on his bumper, hoping someone maybe might think he’s one and ask him to race.

But not only is he not taken seriously, he’s become such an easy punchline and punching bag that he’s virtually radioactive. As far as Black sportswriters/reporters go, he’s probably one of the three or four most recognizable names. Yet literally zero of his peers — well, zero of his peers who aren’t currently employed by Fox — would dare cosign anything he says. Just being associated with a Whitlock tweet is like having digital mono. Athletes collectively hate him. And not the type of “hate” that’s comprised of the garden variety skepticism some athletes have towards the media. But actual “if I see that nigga in the street, I’ll slap the shit out of him” hate. Black Twitter — and by “Black Twitter” I mean “literally every Black person on Twitter with any sort of relevance and working brain cells” — despises him. His “Black people with brains” approval rating is at zero. This is a friendless nigga. Even OJ had Al Cowlings. Whitlock has…hats.

Adding insult to injury is the reality that there seems to be nothing he can do to reverse the “Whitlock is a vapid shitbag” narrative. He will not be given another platform to lead. That ship done sailed. His opinions, even the few that aren’t spellbindingly terrible, will continue to be dismissed and ridiculed as the rantings of an awkwardly fedoraed Ruckus. But most importantly, he doesn’t seem to have it in him to be anything other than what he currently is. He did this to himself.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Jason Whitlock is the original resident of the sunken place.

    • nah, Sheriff Clark and Ben Carson been dwelling there long before Whitlock fat @ss jumped in the hole.

  • HouseSublime

    So glad when he got shredded on the Breakfast Club the other week. He’s easily my least favorite sports ‘journalist’ with Cowherd coming in a close 2nd.

    • Those two are the worst in the business

      • Val

        I think Barkley is worse because he actually believes the stuff he says and has a bigger platform.

        • In general I agree with you. Although in this instance I don’t think Charles would have even said anything this dumb.

        • HouseSublime

          I think Barkley gets a bad rap. If you actually listen to him regularly on Inside the NBA he generally acknowledges that there are issues with racism in America. People are still harping on him holding onto some respectability politics ideals but he’s a nearly 60 year old guy so that’s to be expected.

          He’s not the most articulate or poignant guy so it’s easy to find quotes of him flubbing words or saying something without context. In generally I think Barkley’s heart is in the right place.

          Whitlock just doublesdown on his BS and has done it for years.

          • Val

            While I agree that Barkley (mostly) has good intentions, I stand by my comment. He does more damage than Whitlock simply because he has a bigger platform. No one outside of sports fans and woke Black folks really know who Whitlock is. People in general know who Barley is even if they aren’t sports fans or woke.

    • Brother Mouzone

      I used to listen to Cowherd until I started noticing how he slips in his love for O’reilly, Limbaugh, Imus, Hanity, Stern, in just about every show. He tries to be subtle with it, but I peeped his game.

      • Listening to how Cowherd used to hate on John Wall put me up on game.

        • HouseSublime

          For dancing. That is what sparked the entire thing. Wall did the dougie during a pregame when it was hot and old white man Cowherd couldn’t relate so he started talking crazy about him.

      • Wise Old Owl

        Cowherd is a known racist and hypocrite…he talks about athletes cheating on their wives, when he did the same…he is a true piece of $hit!

    • theaythmonth

      Stephen A is horrible.

  • He’s just a tool here to say what his co-workers wont say in public, f him

    • Brother Mouzone

      Or maybe just a tool.

  • Brother Mouzone

    THIS muhfugga here. I think he’s trying to get that lucrative position of “Negro who publically denigrates Black people for the entertainment of dwights”. It’s a mouth full, but it pays well.

  • Hugh Akston

    “my first response was pity.”

    Why?

    This guy knew exactly what he was doing when he wrote what he did

    • Courtney Wheeler

      I never pity a man wear a fedora that’s too small for his head.

      • miss t-lee

        Ever.

    • AzucarNegra

      He has to dance to the piper to get paid

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni9j0sHkogA
    Whitlock is going for that 3 peat

    • AzucarNegra

      This probably the second part of their fight. They got in a while back over Lavar Ball

      • Zil Nabu

        Wasn’t that far back. In fact it was like 2 weeks ago.

        • AzucarNegra

          CTG gave the WW DoTD, and Whitlock objected so CTG responded in kind. Yeah but this is a carry on definitley.

    • Duff Soviet Union

      How is everyone in that Charlemagne / Levar / Whitlock thing so awful?

  • Courtney Wheeler

    I don’t understand the argument of “There’s a proper way to respond when someone spray paints the N-word on your house” Like I kinda feel like the said person can respond anyway they see fit. That’s extremely selfish of Whitlock.

  • Giantstepp

    Charlamagne called him too fat for a fedora and I happen to agree with that. But, yeah, Whitlock is awful and is the walking embodiment of self hatred. Sheriff Clarke has him beat, but he is running a close second. F that guy.

    • *Praise Break and Shout Out*

      @giantstepp:disqus You are looking CLEAN in the avi photo!! Good Lawd!

      • Giantstepp

        I used just a head shot to fool the ladies on the internet. :)

        • Zil Nabu

          So the rest of you is dirty?

  • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin

    Another day another skinfolk who believes since he doesn’t “feel racism” that it doesn’t matter.

  • Val

    Interestingly, I never get the feeling that Whitlock actually believes the stuff he says. I think he realized at some point that he had no real original insights and decided that he could play the role of the sports guy who trolls Black folks and make a grip doing it.

    • Brother Mouzone

      Our brains work the same, I said something similar upthread. Great minds, great minds.

    • miss t-lee

      I feel like him and Skip Bayless just say stuff to get folks talking…and ratings.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Ratings. Outrage gets clicks

        • miss t-lee

          Yup.

      • HouseSublime

        Skip is a super knowledgable journalist but that doesn’t pay the bills. He learned years back what people are actually going to watch and played right into it. The guy signed a 4 year deal for 5.5 million per PLUS a 4 million signing bonus. That’s basically a low-mid NFL level contract for a guy who sits and talks.

        Him an Stephen A both are just behaving that way to get a check.

        • miss t-lee

          I totally believe it, which is why I really don’t pay either of them much attention.

    • thamonsta

      I would agree if he had not been saying these things consistently for a decade. I really do think he’s the black person who thinks that black folks (specifically young black folks) are everything every racist ever said we were. He’s been doing for over a decade. It makes me think that even if it started of as making some money, how much of that is actually a part of his belief system now?

      • Val

        I think at a certain point, maybe a decade ago as you say, he realized that his sports commentary was only making noise when he took the contrarian view and he stuck with it.

        Some turncoat Black folks actually believe their own hype, I just don’t get the feeling he does. When Barkley goes on one of his rants I believe he believes what he’s saying. There’s a sincerity there I don’t feel with Whitlock.

        • thamonsta

          Yeah maybe that’s it. SAD. And for sure agree that Barkley believes all that mess he’s spewing.

        • Soula Powa

          I know right! Like he saw Ann Coulter saying outlandish crap for million$ and said, “I can do that.”

    • Emily Harris

      I feel the same way- because the folks he comes for are bigger than his abilities. Why you coming for Serena Williams talking about her weight when you’re a fat chump in a baby fedora- why are you coming for Lebron? He’s pandering for cash- ain’t the first and won’t be the last- but shame on him anyway. His lot is to play token for folks that want to validate their racism by way of his diatribes borne from self hatred. He’s probably somewhere right now begging for some snow bunny strange.

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