Hearne: Joe vs. Jason, Life After The KC Star

365220219de3337468122afcb59a6a41Two sports columnists, one big book and movie deal for one of them and a case of mistaken identity for the other…

We’re talking Joe Posnanski and Jason Whitlock, the former twin towers in the Kansas City Star sports section.

For years – from the mid 1990s until three years ago – the rival sports scribes battled quietly behind the scenes for top sports columnist and paycheck honors. When Whitlock got a radio gig Posnanski wanted and got one (ever briefly). When Whitlock got offers to move to another market and pyramided them into  hefty pay hikes, Posnanski followed suit.

Not that they were anything approaching two peas in a sports pod.

Joe was the kindly-seeming writer, dishing out metaphors and word pictures like there was no tomorrow and schmoozing the pants off both dead and undead local sports celebrities.

Jason on the other hand was the master of pimping  readers, bragging about his momma’s cooking, referring to his king-sized self as a sex symbol and dishing out brickbats to heavyweights like former Big Chief Carl Peterson.

32468453dp5Neither was seen much around the Star offices. In a dozen or so years I can only recall laying eyes on either of them two, maybe three times each. For most Star staffers they were men of mystery with fat paychecks and sizeable egos, with Joe nosing out Jason as the kinder, gentler of the two.

But now that Posnanski is in the chips with a big book deal and major motion picture on his side of the ledger, all eyes turn to the Phat Man.

nick-wright4When Whitlock left Kansas City he made sure to leave the impression he’d cut something approaching a seven-figure deal. Former 610 Sports host Nick Wright got the exit interview honors and repeated as gospel a blog report saying that Jason was in the chips. Whitlock shrugged it off, leaving the impression he was off to LA, big bucks in hand.

However the expected TV and/or radio gigs never materialized and Whitlock remains mired in part time blogger limbo.

al_pacinoThat brings us to the here and now.

Like last Sunday, when with Posanski poised to make some waves in Hollywood with an Al Pacino movie based on his book, Whitlock was about to get fingered by sports personality Bob Costas for still being a Kansas City dude.

Costas had quoted a line from Whitlock’s blog on national television the day after the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide. In it he referred to Big Sexy as  “the Kansas City based writer Jason Whitlock.”

Get the picture?

120512_factor_costas_640Two years after Whitlock was supposed to be taking names and kicking butt in LA, Costas didn’t even know he’d moved.

CNN Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz conducted an extended interview with Costas Sunday focusing mostly on the Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong controversies.

Towards the end he asked Costas to re-explain his controversial anti gun quotes late last year.

Costas defended borrowing the quote from Whitlock, but more than a month later still didn’t know Whitlock was no longer a KC guy.

“When you delivered that commentary within the 90 second constraint that you had, you chose largely to quote someone else, columnist Jason Whitlock. Why did you do that as opposed to saying, here’s what I Bob Costas think,” Kurtz quizzed.

Costas answer:

“I thought what Whitlock said was worthy. Plus, he’s from Kansas City…”

In fairness to Costas, Whitlock was already a part-time blogger on Fox prior to leaving the Star. So within reason it’s understandable he might not have noticed that Jason had left town and was two years in to the pursuit of a seven-figure paycheck (six-figure?).

All of that said, it’s clear Posnanski’s the undisputed winner of the Life After The Kansas City Star sweeepstakes.

My personal take?

Jason needs to find another writing gig with a local daily where he can shake things up and wreak havoc in a way that resonates with local sports junkies (and comes with a healthy six-figure paycheck).

That’s a possibility even in this day where print journalists are dropping like flies.There’s always room for a gunslinger sportswriter.

Even the Star still has a slot for a second sports columnist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.mb-kc.com/
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6 Responses to Hearne: Joe vs. Jason, Life After The KC Star

  1. chuck says:

    Whitlock looks like Melissa McCarthy just told him she was buying at Gates and the possibility of sexual congress was not out of the question.

    Not having eaten in over 20 minutes and digging for dinero to pay his rent in Tony Botello’s mom’s basement, he is the picture of cognitive dissonance. The lure of ribs and the threat of loins leaves him wistful for long ago sinecure at the Kansas City Star.

    Drew Bledsoe was never gay and Whitlock was never a journalist.

  2. chuck says:

    Whitlock looks like Melissa McCarthy just told him she was buying at Gates and the possibility of sexual congress was not out of the question.

    Not having eaten in over 20 minutes and digging for dinero to pay his rent in Tony Botello’s mom’s basement, he is the picture of cognitive dissonance. The lure of ribs and the threat of loins leaves him wistful for long ago sinecure at the Kansas City Star.

    Drew Bledsoe was never a flamer and Whitlock was never a journalist.

  3. smartman says:

    Interesting contrast. Joe has made more bank but Matt Cassel made more than Collin Kaepernick this year and Kim Kardashian made more than Meryl Streep. Life ain’t fair!
    Joe’s success can be attributed to one Jerry Sandusky, along with a strong work ethic, perseverance, and a number of low testosterone readers. Absent Jerry’s kid-diddling and JoPa’s death his ultimate work becomes another bit of Paterno hagiography.

    Despite the success of the book amongst commoners he took a beating from his peers for a weak effort. Will the Paterno movie find its’ place in sports movie history among Bull Durham, Rudy and Brians Song? I doubt it. Touchy subject, certainly not redemptive and only a feel good story for the aforementioned Mr. Sandusky.

    Whitlock has blown more opportunities than a Thai Hooker. Bestowed with every opportunity blackness allows, on multiple ocassions, he is a conundrum. Had he chosen to become a bit smoother, more articulate and witty instead of some Tupac wanna be writer he could have easily become the second coming of Mike Wilbon easily knocking down seven figures. His failure, if we choose to call it that, is,well deserved and comes from a real lack of knowledge and talent.

    He’s no gunslinger. Never was. Pissing people off for the sake of that alone does not make you a writer. That’s what Glazer does.

    In 100 years no one will ever know that these two existed. Among journalists money can only leave a certain legacy. The idea that in 100 or 1000 years your work will still inform, motivate and inspire…… that is a true legacy.

    • harley says:

      take your filth and lies away from here.
      take your racist and obnoxious lies away from here..
      we’ve seen your colors.

  4. smartman says:

    Harley, I thought you’d be happy today. I heard your mom got the lead in the John Knox Village production of That 70′s Ho.

  5. Craig Glazer says:

    That from the ‘little coward’ who no showed on his calling me out to fight. Lots of bad ass remarks from a guy who is a weak liar and a proven coward.