Hearne: Jason Whitlock Looms LARGE on Keith Olbermann’s New ESPN Show

Whitlock on Olbermann

Whitlock on Olbermann

This could be his big break…

Word that former Kansas City Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock will be riding herd over his own ESPN sports blog with the stated mission of developing and bringing along new, younger voices (writers) poses a two huge questions.

Could this be Whitlock’s long awaited ticket to a healthy six-figure paycheck? And can he handle the role of being a mentor to up-and-coming, young, African American sportswriter wannabes?

“Pretty bizarre to set Jason up as mentor/role model, unless he’s matured some,” said one former Whitlock editor.

After all, his explosive and unpredictable personality aside, Whitlock didn’t exactly set any standards for being level headed during his time in KC. Quite the opposite.

However – wonder of wonders – I stumbled onto Whitlock’s appearance on fellow new ESPN hire Keith Olbermann‘s new show on ESPN2 show last night.

Whitlock’s mission; to discuss the media treatment of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and the team’s quarterback situation. And at the end of the segment, Olbermann noted that Whitlock was his new show’s very first guest.

That’s definitely a huge step up from blogging in the shadows at Fox.

The $64 million question being, is this an indicator that ESPN has bigger things in store for the big guy? We’ll see.

Did I tell you he was huge or what?

Did I tell you he was huge or what?

Meanwhile, a few impressions from my viewing of the show.

Starting with the fact that Whitlock seemed very tentative and reserved and didn’t really bring it like the Jason of old. Far from it.

“Most of the things that have been written about me, a lot of it has been not true,” Whitlock offered – as a minor condemnation of print sportswriters getting stuff wrong – which Olbermann had strongly insinuated where the Jets quarterback controversy was concerned.

Then there’s the matter of Whitlock’s appearance.

I don’t want to join that crowd (if I’m not already in it) of writers who’ve gotten Jason wrong, but the two physical impressions that jumped out to me were as follows:

First, he seemed far older and less brash and young Jason-like than I remember him from three years ago and before. And second – whoa, baby! – when the camera panned back and to the side he looked as big as a house.

Really huge.

Whitlock may not have been making bank these past three years but he’s clearly been eating well. Too well. And now that he’s starting to get older, he needs to rein it in if he wants to be around long enough to mentor all those future Jason Whitlock’s.

Lucky he was sitting down, I don’t know how well Whitlock would have fared if he had to try and stand the entire time. Maybe it was the television camera, but I don’t think so. I’m thinking 300 pounds or maybe more – maybe a lot more.

My advice; now that he’s probably getting a better paycheck, Jason needs to break up with Ollie Gates and hit the veggies. Happens to us all, but, whoa, when it comes to decent health, size matters.

Then there’s the matter of what passes for Whitlock’s “fashion sense” or as Craig Glazer recently put it, “his chunky monkey” wardrobe. 

Check out what Larry Brown of Larry Brown Sports.com wrote:

“Whitlock captured more attention for what he was wearing than anything he was saying. He had on what appeared to be a denim jacket that had a matching beige collar and elbow pads. And if the jacket wasn’t enough of a statement to tell you that Whitlock is bringing back old school fashion, his small hoop earring certainly was.

“Come on, Whitlock, don’t you know that taking fashion tips from Michael Jordan is always a bad idea?”

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33 Responses to Hearne: Jason Whitlock Looms LARGE on Keith Olbermann’s New ESPN Show

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    Wonder how his style will mesh with ESPN carrying the water for the NFL. Will he be able to attack, er point out, where the various teams and the NFL are shaping the news to fit Their view?

    With the NFL pressuring ESPN to exit their work on Frontline’s story on the NFL and head injuries, will he be able to bring it to the table?

    ESPN creates its own news out of whole cloth too many times to be considered a reliable source anymore.

    Perhaps Jason realized he thought he wanted a career but really just wanted a big, big paycheck?

    • admin says:

      My guess is, he’s gonna play it pretty safe for at least a while.

      The good old days of twin six-figure paychecks at the Star and in radio, coupled with his blogger pay are in the distance. Getting fired essentially by Entercom, ESPN and the Star and burning his bridge with WHB were undoubtedly sobering.

      Now that he’s getting a second chance with ESPN and he’s got a little age on him to go with all that unhealthy weight, he knows better than to blow this one.

      He definitely seemed very tentative last night, not the slash and burn Whitlock that we all know and love.

      So we’ll see.

  2. Rick Nichols says:

    Hey, wake me up when either Whitlock or ESPN is truly relevant.

    • admin says:

      Oh Rick…Rick, man. Wake up, dude, wake up.

      I’m not a big sports guy, so forgive me in advance for venturing an opinion but…

      It’s hard not to see ESPN as being relevant. To sports die hards.

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        You mean sports wanna-be, those folks who are going nuts because of something on the 10 TVs showing sports has put the kabosh on his fantasy team?

        In reality those talking-head “experts” are no better than you would be writing about sports daily. They are the watchers no one is watching (great line by Whitlock).

        Recognized sports authority is very similar to nationally know comedy club.

  3. harley says:

    good to see Jason doing well. Hope he gets his own show someday.
    He’d be great doing that PTI show and replacing the other guy on there.
    Or a really cool show about the off field/court lives of the players.
    Something that shows their other side when they’re not
    on stage.
    good luck Jason….wish ya luck.
    enjoyed your stories in kc and this might be your big break.

    • Big Sessy says:

      I’ll soon be doing a segment on you, Big Guy. Can’t wait to see your bunker, strategically hidden inside the grounds of the Overland Park Sewage Plant. I think I pinched a few loafs which got processed there.

      Thanks for the loan of the sports coat, sorry you outgrew it.

      Want the roll of duct tape I found in the pocket back?

  4. GB says:

    you are obsessed with his pay. Let it go dude. He’s successful at what he does.

    • rkcal says:

      +1
      I don’t get the constant drumming about what he makes. Is there a butt hurt about it from the past? Five figures or six figures, he gets paid to talk about sports. That’s a win.

      • the dude says:

        I’ll take the butthurt pay over Star axe grinding any day of the week. Guess hearne was jealous of big sessy’s big, fat paycheck.

        • admin says:

          He did have me beat some at the Star…

          And undoubtedly now, but when you flame out and then float the story that your blogging deal has suddenly mushroomed to $2 million, that invites scrutiny.

          But this is about fashion and the future not his current paycheck. This is about whether the big guy can turn the corner and take advantage of this new opportunity.

          So we’ll keep an eye on things and we’ll see

  5. paulwilsonkc says:

    Knew Jason when he was here, been to many parties at his old place in Nottingham. My money is that, regardless of his writing style and ego, he’s like anyone else; he’s going to have to conform some to keep this new gig.

    Jason, like Hearne, Lefty, Dwight, me or anyone else who writes for fun or money, has a style. His was undeniably his. But the time comes in today’s economy and job scarcity that you have to mold and fit in some to survive. Will it change everything about him; I doubt it seriously. But will you see a kinder/gentler Jason, oh yeah, I bet you do.

    In Jason’s old world, when you’re a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. I bet he comes out with a softer, less hammeresque touch.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      If you hated him, you hated him most when he wrote something you agreed with and that made you hate him more.

      I see Jason as the friend who has mental problems but finds a treatment which allow him to function normally. But the treatment can take away the part of your friend which made Jason, Jason.

      I’d like to see him take on the job of calling out ESPN when they create their own news.

      I see big sessy don’t respond to your posts, Loser (notice the capital L)

    • admin says:

      Here’s the deal….

      If he blows it at ESPN again, where’s he gonna go? Back to a newspaper?

      Maybe.

      That’s always a possibility, but Jason would have to eat a heaping helping of humble pie to lower himself to that level at this point. On top of that, the money ain’t that great these days and he’s not a brash, young kid anymore.

      After suffering thru the past three years Jason undoubtedly knows that now.

      The trick is, he can’t play it too safe or he won’t be the Whitlock we know and love. I think he’s just being a little cautious out of the gate

  6. tiad says:

    Jason could probably give ‘ritin’ lessons (and probably readin’ lessons) to most of the commenters on here. He can also do his ‘rithmatic lesson all the way to the bank to cash his check.

  7. chuck says:

    Orphan for the win.

  8. CG says:

    Good for Whitlock. I hope he does well.

  9. KCMonarch says:

    300 lbs.!?!? My guess is that guy hasn’t been in the neighborhood of three bills since the eighth grade.

    • admin says:

      I was trying to be kind.

      What? 400? 500?

      Don’t forget that fat weighs less than muscle.

      Seriously though, he looked absolutely massive in those side shot pans.

  10. Tea Party says:

    Why not just put the N-word and Whitlock in a headline and get it over with? Why are you dancing around the issue with “chunky monkey,” bogus comments about his salary, performance, work history and whatnot? If you’re going to race bait, why do it halfway? You want Whitlock to acknowledge you. You want to be involved in a controversy so people will come to this site. Quit half-assing it and just call the guy the N-word and be done with it. Calling Whitlock the N-word could be your big break, Hearne, Craig and Flanny. Johnny Dare will still be friends with you and I think the guys at Fox News will have you guys on to defend yourself from charges of racism. Just do it!

    Fat, Lazy N-Word Whitlock Another ESPN Affirmative Action Hire

    Hearne, Craig and Flanagan are must-have interviews when that headlines runs.

    • chuck says:

      What the Fu*k are you talking about?

      The new benchmark for racism, enacted extemporaneously by the billions of sanctimonious, self appointed PC Police wandering desultorily thorugh the comments section is weight?

      Look dumbazz, Whitlock’s azz is bigger than the Federal Deficit. Did ya not look at the guy? The man’s weight IS noteworthy as is Andy Ried’s on a daily basis and was KU’s former football coach.

      If Hearne mentions how fat and bald I am, I am gonna, oh yeah…, thats right, I am fat and bald.

      Shut the fu*k up.

    • CG says:

      Pal you are mistaken. Nobody in that group was close to saying that word. I have always like Whitlock, think he has talent and has overall done well Hearne got crazy over his leaving the Star and his over the top interview with Nick Wright about money and new post. In many ways Hearne was correct, it was not a great deal. However it was a deal. Jason is proud and played it up, understandable. Now he has a shot at the bigtime or a better money deal and exposure. Hey as for me, I’m glad for Whitlock. He was always decent or better to me and I did his show many times.

      I said, “he is not a great tv or radio voice” that’s all. Hearne likes to push any negatives and dump the upside, again understandable. No Jason is not a clothes horse or a Brad Pitt. Few are, well me maybe, but few are.

      I respect Jason and so does Jeff and in his own way Hearne. Hearne, Whitlock and crew got dumped from the Star over money, nothing more. They fired their top guys and top payments to them. That was it. Whitlock was the sports section, Hearne was FYI, no they have not been replaced. Sam the Man does a good job, but is not nearly the force Jason was, not yet. Hearne was never replaced. Bad move by the Star we now have ZERO local color, none. Dumb. Yes it hurt sales.

    • admin says:

      Careful, dude.

      You’ll give the Tea Party a bad name (is that possible at this point?)

  11. Cheech Lifting Weights says:

    Scarecrow, that ain’t 300 lbs. That is 425-450 lbs.

  12. Tea Party says:

    Of course, “chunky monkey” wasn’t race baiting. It was a clever, sophisticated turn of phrase. Again quit dancing and just call the guy the N-word. Hearne, Craig, Flanny and Greg Hall aren’t grumpy old white men who all failed at writing and coke snorting and dealing. If you guys were chunky monkeys, you would all be writing superstars.

    Fat Lazy Chunky Monkey Is Off Welfare, Thanks To Obama!

    Or just shout the N-word and be done with it.

    • the dude says:

      Sure, the ‘chunky monkey’ comment was probably not the best to use in this case but I highly doubt they meant it as a racist connotation.

  13. GB says:

    yes, he is way north of 300

  14. PucKChaser says:

    “Part of the problem is he just wasn’t that good on television.” says sports scribe and Whitlock pal Craig Glazer. “Or even on radio. He wasn’t horrible but…He spoke real slow and he wasn’t funny. I mean, he’s clever and smart but…”

    Seems like Glazer is 0-for-2. Whitlock has done well that last few days and Kelly Jones is now Mobile’s not-even-close-to “it” girl.

    Whit’s obviously matured. Perhaps his time on the shelf was just what he needed — a humbling experience. He did well on PTI with Kornheiser. Will it last? Probably not. Bottom line, Glazers’ evaluation is no more credible than yours or mine or, heck, any other TV viewer.

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