The Jason Whitlock Outtakes

Quotes from the deposed editor-in-chief of ’The Undefeated’

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For our June issue, Matt Gonzales profiled ESPN’s Jason Whitlock (No Pulled Punches), editor-in-chief of the forthcoming The Undefeateda site positioned to focus on race and sports. For months, Whitlock and The Undefeated were dogged by rumors and internal leaks—most of which dealt with the Indianapolis native’s alleged paranoia, outsized ego, and brusque management style—and on June 12, before the site’s official launch, he was relieved of his duties as editor-in-chief, per an ESPN press release.  Here, quotes from Whitlock that didn’t make the story, ones that, in hindsight, may add some context to his abrupt departure:
-Michael Rubino

 

On The Undefeated‘s slow, slow start:

“We are not doing something easy. This is high stakes. We are discussing race and culture, we are not discussing TV shows. And we are doing something high stakes at a large corporation at ESPN, where it is very successful in making a lot of money, So there is always going to be people internally saying, ‘Oh, why take any risks? Why do something high stakes? We are making a shit ton of money. Why take risks?'”

“It’s not enough that [ESPN president] John Skipper and I both want to do it. When you are at a large corporation, you have to get everybody wanting to do it, something this high risk. That’s what I was doing the first year, along with writing columns and appearing on PTI, And to be completely honest, because of my directness in talking about the media throughout my entire career, [some people had attitudes like], ‘I don’t like Jason, he said this and this about ESPN while he was away, why are we giving him this project? Why not give it to so and so and so and so?’ You have to work through all those issues.”

 

On his maturation and the responsibility of his job as EIC of The Undefeated:

“If I thought the same thing at 47 that I did at 37, I have been a very bad human being … When you are a columnist, that’s an individual sport. And I am an editor-in-chief now, and its a whole different game, and it calls for an entirely different conduct and relationships with people than just being a columnist.”

 

On his no-holds-barred approach to work and his willingness to cop to his mistakes:

“I play rough. If people play rough back at me, that’s the price of admission. A lot of people who bite their tongue or don’t really say what they think, to me it’s because they are afraid of what someone what might find out about them. I don’t live with that fear. I am really transparent, I admit my flaws. When I get called out publicly or privately for doing something wrong or coming up short, I am going to cop to it … and when I make mistakes I am going to cop to them at ESPN as well.”

 

On the initial Deadspin story and his critics in general:

“I don’t mind that pressure one me. I would like people to attack me with the truth and non-fabricated material … so I look at the Deadspin piece as a great compliment, they couldn’t attack me with the truth, so they made up stuff.”

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