After hiring Keith Olbermann, ESPN lurched further to the left when a report indicated the network is on the verge of hiring controversial columnist Jason Whitlock, who was responsible for prompting Bob Costas to go on an anti-Second Amendment rant on national television right after the the tragic death of Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher last December.
The sports website The Big Lead reported the news on Wednesday, days before Fox Sports 1 officially launches on August 17 to compete against ESPN. (UPDATE: An ESPN spokesperson said a formal deal has not been signed, but the two parties are working on an agreement.) Whitlock had written for Fox Sports and many thought he would have a role in Fox Sports 1’s programming.
Whitlock is known for making incendiary comments–he said he felt the “NRA is the new KKK” after Costas’s comments on national television:
I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths, uh, and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don’t have our best interests
He has compared conservative columnist and scholar Thomas Sowell, who is black, to a house slave in addition to denigrating Americans of Asian descent. He has suggesting white quarterbacks who won the Heisman Trophy the last decade were undeserving and received the honor in part because of the color of their skin. It is worth nothing that ESPN fired Hugh Douglas on Tuesday for reporting slurring his black co-host, Michael Smith, by calling him an “Uncle Tom” and a “House [N-word],” which Whitlock implied Thomas Sowell was.
But his most controversial column in recent years was the one he wrote last December after the tragic murder-suicide of Belcher, the Chiefs football player. He wrote America’s “gun culture” was the reason why Belcher committed the murder-suicide, which prompted Costas to ultimately say on Sunday Night Football:
You knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again, ‘Something like this really puts it all in perspective.’ Well if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please.
Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this?
Well a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but, who today, said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article. “Our current gun culture,” Whitlock wrote, “ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, (and its possible connection to football), will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, (wrote Jason Whitlock) is what I believe, If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”