Hearne: National Media Spanks, ESPN Scolds Jason Whitlock

Big SexyThere’s nothing quite like starting off with a bang…

Such was the case last week when former Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock hammered a Sports Illustrated writer, accusing him of being a hack and churning out a bogus hit piece on the Oklahoma State football team “that can’t be taken seriously.”

Sports Illustrated’s reporting on the scandal at Oklahoma State has been questioned by many – including former players interviewed by the reporters — but the loudest voice challenging the veracity of the magazine’s expose has been told to dial down the rhetoric,” writes the New York Daily News. Jason Whitlock – who was hired by ESPN last month but hasn’t had a byline on the site yet — came out swinging with an over-the-top attack on SI reporter Thayer Evans on Tuesday, which led his employer to call the columnists remarks ‘not acceptable.’

“We have discussed Jason’s comments with him. They were personal in nature, they do not represent ESPN and they are not acceptable based on the standards we have set,” ESPN told  The Sherman Report on Sports Media.

The ringer Whitlock got his teet stuck in this time was an Oklahoma City radio station that had Whitlock on in the interest of discounting the Sports Illustrated report.

Turns out ESPN has a policy prohibiting its staffers from bashing competitors. Which as sports-minded Kansas Citians well know is the opposite of Whitlock’s style. It’s a lame policy, as many respected media organization (including the Kansas City Star) have engaged – and had full time employees – who’s job it was to do that very thing.

Thayer-Evans”Comments must not be personal, vicious, dismissive…No cheap shots,” reads one portion of ESPN’s policy. “(And) no personal attacks or innuendo toward people, media companies, networks or publications.”

Whitlock blew past those caution flags, telling the station and listeners, “Having worked with Thayer Evans at Fox Sports, having followed his work for some time, I am completely and utterly flabbergasted that a legitimate news outlet would allow Thayer Evans to be involved in some type of investigative piece on college football that tears down a program, and particularly one that tears down Oklahoma State when it is no secret what a huge, enormous, gigantic Oklahoma homer Thayer Evans is…Let me end by saying this and I honestly mean this without malice. It wouldn’t shock me if Thayer Evans couldn’t spell cat and I say in all seriousness.”

Hyperbole aside – since Evans can undoubtedly spell cat – the shot Whitlock then took at investigative sports reporting probably didn’t go over well with ESPN’s staff of investigative reporters.

“I don’t respect the entire brand of investigative journalism that is being done here,” Whitlock said.

The latter comment seemed to flush out some of Whitlock’s former ESPN enemies.

“Obviously, Whitlock veered from ESPN’s media policy on many different levels,” the Sherman Report writes. “The network responded to quell any internal fires as much as anything else. Several of his new teammates talked about a double standard. They speculated what would happen to them if they went on the same rant. “I’d be fired,” (one ESPN) staffer said.”

angry-olbermann_492x331But are there two standards at ESPN on bashing the competition?

ESPN, on the other hand, did not reprimand Keith Olbermann for his attack on the Daily NewsManish Mehta for a column — his opinion – saying that Rex Ryan’s decision to play Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game, wherein Sanchez was injured, could cost him his job when the season ended. Olbermann never referred to Mehta by name, but featured his headshot during the program and read excerpts from his column in a mocking, condescending tone.”

Whitlock BTW was Olbermann’s guest on that very show.

Incidentally, Bottom Line Communications dug itself back up to weigh in on Whitlock’s toe stubbing and use the incident to bash Whitlock in every way imaginable,  including by adding that he’d been fired by sports radio WHB.


Whitlock was lured away from WHB – not fired – by former Entercom honcho Bob Zuroweste for its then new station 610 Sports.

As awfulannouncing.com‘s Matt Yoder writes, this isn’t the first time Thayer has been criticized and Whitlock made some valid points, but…

“One area ESPN does not wish to “Embrace Debate” is with criticism of fellow media companies,” Yoder writes. “It does ESPN no good to have writers involved in fights with other outlets because it brings them down from their pedestal at the top of the sports world.”

Not to mention garnering headlines like this one on Deadspin that reads, “ESPN’s Jason Whitlock Craps on Author of SI’s Oklahoma State Story.”

The $64 million question: “Whether or not Whitlock’s outspokenness causes the relationship between columnist and company to come to a bitter end like it did the first time around,” Yoder writes.



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23 Responses to Hearne: National Media Spanks, ESPN Scolds Jason Whitlock

  1. the dude says:

    It seems the Whitlock mistakes controversial, sensational journalism with good journalism.

  2. Mysterious J says:

    I am always entertained by your cat fight with Landsberg, but I have to admit he really wrote a piece of axe grinding garbage about Whitlock. Aside from your point that Jason was never fired by 810, there is also the whole “Many feel his race is the only reason Whitlock has been able to be employed” thing…maybe Landsberg had a frog in his pocket when he wrote that?

    • admin says:

      Not really an axe, I just like tweaking him from time to time. And make no mistake, for all of his pettiness, Landsberg provided a service to the community.

      I for one miss him!

  3. Hot Carl says:

    “Incidentally, Bottom Line Communications dug itself back up to weigh in on Whitlock’s toe stubbing and use the incident to bash Whitlock in every way imaginable, including by adding that he’d been fired by sports radio WHB.


    John Landsberg didn’t get his facts straight? NO WAY!!!!

  4. chuck says:

    If there is a God in heaven, then one day, during one of Keith Oberman’s epileptic agitprops, the ghost of Barry Goldwater will appear on set, pound a fu*kin stake into Oberman’s fontanel and scream, “The end of condescension as a premise, is at hand!!!!!!”

  5. Hreg Gall says:


    Good to see you pointing out that John Landsberg is more of old angry, racist white man than you, me, Glaze and Flanny. But get back to calling Whitlock a chunky monkey and speculating about how much money he makes.


    • Bill Cosby says:

      Whitlock is in the public domain by way of his celebrity. The fact that his azz is bigger than the Federal Deficit IS noteworthy.

      I mean come on… He looks like a guy, who if he dropped a hundred pounds, would look like a guy who needed to lose 50 pounds.

      You’re the guy whose raison d’ etre is finding real and percieved instances of racism. Again with the “Chunky Munky” BS.

    • admin says:

      That was the Glaze who chunky-monkeyed him btw

      As far as his money goes, jason left town leaking a seven figure salary and visions of vast fame and importance, only to choke along with the same little blog he had while taking down six-figures at the Star.

      You don’t get that Jason striking out on the national scene in search of the fame and fortune he found here – but on a national stage – is an interesting process to follow?

      Actually, I think you do.

  6. rkcal says:

    Well, at least the subject isn’t how much Whitlock makes.

    • admin says:

      In a way, it was…

      Because if this is the beginning of the end from him at ESPN (and I don’t think it is), he may end up copy editing for KC Confidential…

      I’m kidding, alright?

  7. Lou Brown says:

    Whitlock had to do something to try and put himself back on the national stage of being significant and pushing the envelope as he once was here in K.C. He is failing – but perhaps I am out of his demo – 50+. Caught him filling in on PTI a couple of weeks ago and he was brutal.

    Olbermann was mocking and condescending? Imagine that.

  8. speedy says:

    It’s ironic that Whitlock weighs in on the article about Ok. State’s recruiting hostesses having sex with recruits. While at the Star, he was the one that pointed out how KU lures basketball recruits to Lawrence with all the talk about history, Naismith, tradition, etc. “… and then the Johnson County snow bunnies take over”.

  9. Hean Sannity says:

    Hearne Christopher, Craig Glazer, Jeff Flanagan, Greg Hall and John Landsberg….

    What do they all have in common? Besides being old and bigoted. They’re failures as writers.

  10. paulwilsonkc says:

    Yeah, explain. And while youre at it, Hean Sannity is a stupid name. And if its Sean Hannity and you misspelled it, then YOU’RE stupid.

  11. Snappietom says:

    Why is it the same 13-15 people writing comments to these topics? You guys really need something to do. BTW – I actually think Hearne writes on interesting topics.

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