Jason Lee Whitlock (born April 27, 1967, in Indianapolis, Indiana) is a sportswriter for ESPN, and a former columnist at the Kansas City Star, AOL Sports, and Foxsports.com, as well as a radio personality for WHB and KCSP sports stations in the Kansas City area.
Whitlock was an all-state offensive lineman at Warren Central High School in Warren Township in the eastern part of Indianapolis, and he blocked for quarterback Jeff George, who later became the first overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. He attended Ball State University on a football scholarship, lettering two years as an offensive lineman. He graduated with a degree in journalism in 1990.
Whitlock's first job was working part-time for the The Herald-Times in Bloomington, Indiana. His first full-time job came as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer. After about a year there, he joined the Ann Arbor News in 1992 and spent 2 years covering the University of Michigan.
Kansas City Star
In 1994, Whitlock was hired by the Kansas City Star. The Scripps Howard Foundation awarded Whitlock its National Journalism Award for commentary on March 7, 2008. Whitlock was the first sports writer to win the award and $10,000 prize. His Kansas City Star columns garnered the trophy for their "ability to seamlessly integrate sports commentary with social commentary and to challenge widely held assumptions along the racial divide." On August 16, 2010, the Kansas City Star announced that Whitlock would be leaving that paper.
In 2002, Whitlock started writing columns for ESPN.com's Page 2. Whitlock had guest-hosted several ESPN TV shows, including Jim Rome Is Burning, and Pardon the Interruption. He is a regular fill-in host on the The Jim Rome Show on ESPN Radio. He also appeared regularly on ESPN's The Sports Reporters Outside the Lines.
Leaving ESPN for AOL Sports
In 2006, Whitlock announced the departure of his online column from ESPN.com's Page 2 in favor of AOL Sports, but initially expected to continue his television work for ESPN. However, after the announcement, Whitlock was interviewed by sports blog The Big Lead, and in that interview, he disparaged two of his ESPN colleagues. Whitlock labeled Mike Lupica "an insecure, mean-spirited busybody", and referred to Robert "Scoop" Jackson as a "clown", saying that "the publishing of [Jackson's] fake ghetto posturing is an insult to black intelligence." Jackson, like Whitlock, is African-American. Whitlock went absent from any ESPN television work. He soon announced to The Kansas City Star readers in September 2006 that he was fired altogether from ESPN as a result of his remarks; he wrote that the company doesn't tolerate criticism and acted as they saw fit. Whitlock's first AOL Sports column was published September 29, 2006.
Whitlock's first Fox Sports on MSN column was published August 16, 2007. On February 10, 2012, in the middle of the Knicks' 92–85 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, with Jeremy Lin scoring a career-high 38 points, Whitlock posted on Twitter that "some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight." Hyphen wrote that Whitlock "reinforced the insipid and insidious 'small Asian penis' stereotype. The Asian American Journalists Association demanded an apology. Later, Whitlock said, "I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I'm truly sorry."
Return to ESPN
Originally, Whitlock was expected to be an integral part of the launching of the Fox Sports 1 sports television channel in August 2013, but ultimately came to feel that that television work would come at the expense of his writing. Therefore, upon meeting with ESPN President John Skipper, Whitlock decided to leave Fox Sports and accept Skipper's offer to return to ESPN.
Whitlock has also been published in Vibe, Playboy, and The Sporting News. In the June 2008 issue of Playboy, he wrote a 5,000-word column questioning American's incarceration and drug-war policies. Playboy headlined the column "The Black KKK", which provoked Whitlock into writing two columns—one in the Kansas City Star and another on Foxsports.com—criticizing Playboy editorial director Chris Napolitano for the misleading and inflammatory headline.
He was the host of a morning-drive talk show, "Jason Whitlock's Neighborhood" on Sports Radio 810 WHB
Whitlock was the celebrity spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.
- Plambeck, Joseph (September 19, 2010). "Whitlock, Sports Columnist, Embraces Controversy". The New York Times.
- "Columnist Jason Whitlock is leaving The Kansas City Star". Kansas City Star. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- Whitlock, Jason. Freedom to speak has price Kansas City Star, 24 September 2006 (Retrieved 27 November 2006).
- "Sunday's NBA notebook: Rajon Rondo's triple-double carries Celtics over Bulls". The Detroit News. Associated Press. February 12, 2012. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012.
- Kim, Sylvie (February 13, 2012). "Spike, Jeremy, and Stopping "Asian Profi'Lin"". Hyphen. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012.
- Schilken, Chuck (February 13, 2012). "Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock apologizes for Jeremy Lin tweet". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012.
- Dwyer, Kelly (February 13, 2012). "Jason Whitlock apologizes for his unfunny Jeremy Lin comment on Twitter". yahoo.com. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012.
- Jason Whitlock (August 15, 2013). The B.S. Report: Jason Whtilock. (Interview).