As the noisy and disruptive police choppers hovered above my downtown Los Angeles apartment, a collective sigh of relief was echoed on social media on Monday afternoon.
Fox Sports 1 had parted ways with Jason Whitlock.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of sports thereof, many of us sports fans have been reduced to absorbing sports talk literally wherever we can. And after the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the 24/7 news cycle surrounding the arrest of the responsible officer and coverage of nationwide riots, sports becomes nationally marginalized, despite being simultaneously desired as an escape from the reality that we are all living in 2020. So after the craziest domestic weekend since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, I was licking my chops to hear the unique and authentic takes of sports analysts Shannon Sharpe, Rob Parker, Stephen A. Smith, Chris Broussard, etc.
Ehhh, not so much.
Every sports fan knows that Whitlock traditionally goes against the grain of most black people. We go left, and Whit goes right. That’s not even a political statement. Want an example? Let’s go through Whitlock’s Greatest Hits, Volume 1. Perhaps we should start with the time Whitlock analogized LeBron James dunking in his son’s AAU lay-up line to being addicted to cocaine. Or maybe the time that the former journalist said that James shouldn’t be allowed to complain about racism in America because he’s rich and therefore does not truly struggle, despite the N-word being spray-painted on his house. Or perhaps we should discuss his incendiary and incessant takes on Colin Kaepernick, or “Martin Luther Cornrow” as Whitlock tastefully once dubbed the former quarterback. Surely, you can’t forget his most recent single where he misconstrued genuine grief as a ploy to amplify an already billion dollar brand.
This isn’t helpful. It’s twitter trolling. It’s using this man’s tragedy to build a brand as more outspoken than Michael Jordan. There are all kinds of ways to draw attention to this tragedy. Suggesting that we are hunted everyday/every time is just shit-stirring. https://t.co/zLPICaCKuA
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) May 6, 2020
I give him his props- the man successfully mastered masking his hyper conservative values in the form of a flaming hot take targeted towards a sports figure-typically black. But calling him tone-deaf would be a compliment at this point. I mean, the apathy for his race is historically apparent and quite sickening.
Black people breathing
jason whitlock: pic.twitter.com/FKmCMQWKmM
— Im Just Being Honest (@TheKidE85) May 7, 2020
So I knew, like many others, what sort of divisive rhetoric that Whitlock had in store for us sports fans on Monday. We all knew that once given the chance, Whitlock would once again, shuck and jive for the white man. Once given the chance, Whitlock would jump on television with that smug look, and sneer at our sports heroes and weekend protesters for speaking out, for seeing things like police brutality, systematic inequality, all while casting himself as the foremost authority on what racism really is.
Except that he never got that chance.
We reported that Whitlock and FS1 parted ways due to contract negotiations on Sunday, after his no-show on Monday’s episode of Speak For Yourself.
It was a day which will live in infamy.
But not for African-Americans.
Not for sensible citizens that cogently see the injustices that exist in America today, and appropriately comport themselves as such.
But for the malicious infantry who relied on weaponizing Whit’s voice as an apparatus to combat our activism.
For those who were never in support of Kaep’s kneeling, Whitlock emboldened them with the support that they needed to stand up.
For those who looked the other way every time an unarmed black man became a victim to police brutality, Whitlock’s penchant to minimize and mitigate the racial issue made it that much easier to do so.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a silver lining, so let me give him his roses. Or dandelions, whatever. His show went to great lengths to create a very much needed conduit for black commentators, like Lavar Arrington, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and former NBA player Jim Jackson. Uncle Jimmy was kind of funny too. But while it certainly opened doors for them, there’s always been something inauthentic to me about their shared insight: No one, including his co-host Marcellus Wiley, ever checked Whitlock for his stupidity.
No one except for Chris Broussard.
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) June 1, 2017
……Yeah, that part. Broussard’s face is all of us. Needless to say, he stopped making appearances shortly after this episode.
With that said, I don’t believe many of Whit’s former colleagues are sad about his departure, and just because I align myself with that sentiment doesn’t mean that I want to see a black man lose; I hope that he does find some success in his future endeavors, whatever Uncle Tom-ish endeavors those may be.
But not on a popular platform like FS1.
Either God or Karma paid Black America a huge favor Monday afternoon.
After all the calamity that has transpired this year, hell, it’s about time we got one.