Last Monday morning, I awoke to a tweet reply from Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock claiming my one sentence referring to him in my last post was 100% wrong:
My reply was the following:
He did not continue the back and forth.
What drew his tweet was the claim I made in my last post that all sportswriters, bloggers, and TV analysts are often wrong, and should own up to it when they are. I then stated that bloggers are probably wrong more than the rest of the field, but we also own up to more than the rest as well. I then wrote that I couldn’t imagine Jason Whitlock admitting his mistakes. Was it meant to be a slight? Not really. Was it meant to be malicious? Not at all. Was it rude? Probably. And, for that I do apologize. I’m a reader of Whitlock’s, and I regularly enjoy his work. He is one of the few sportswriters I consider to be in the “top tier”. He is very famous in the world of online sports media, and enjoys a readership I could only dream of. And, he deserves it. The fact that I chose his name out of the small amount of writers in his league was more random than pointed. Some people might think that’s irresponsible, and those people could definitely be right. Did I think in the long run it would have really mattered to Whitlock, or that he would even notice? Nope. Not in a million years. However he did notice, and was obviously offended by the comment.
Still, I heavily doubt a comment on a syndicated blog that’s focused on the San Diego Padres would cause a chink in Whitlock’s armor. The most interesting part to me is that he actually would acknowledge it. Which means it’s a sore subject, and I had to find out why.
I think most people can agree that Whitlock’s posts are more opinionated than in-depth analysis. We share that bond. He takes a bold position on several current topics and rides with them all the way. I almost always believe he’s passionate about his positions, because the writing comes off as just that – passionate. His column on gun control was legendary, and in my opinion dead on. Whitlock drew a lot of criticism for that column, but for the most part stood his ground. In fact, since he’s a writer who focuses on taking a side and sticking to it, Whitlock can never actually be considered “wrong”. It’s just his opinion. Of course he could be wrong on a name or a stat or something like that. But, usually it’s his editor’s job to catch those mishaps, which by the way every sportswriter makes. I re-read a good amount of his columns trying to find an actual “mistake” that he owned up to, however given his chosen stylistic approach it made the task all but impossible. How can your opinion ever be wrong? I love the movie Hook, but a lot of people hate it. Revisionists will point out how stupid it is, but I think it’s a great film. It’s my opinion. You could totally think I’m wrong, but that doesn’t mean I am. Whitlock’s opinions are his, so they can’t really ever be considered “mistakes” therefore never “an issue” worthy of owning up to. It’s really genius.
I decided to do what everyone else probably would have done from the beginning: I googled “Jason Whitlock apology”.
The results were about four pages of links to something I wasn’t even aware of: Whitlock’s “offensive” tweet pointed towards Jeremy Lin. After Lin dropped 38 points on the Lakers last season, solidifying him as an emerging star on the Knicks, Whitlock tweeted: Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple of inches of pain tonight.
Now, let me say I in no way think the tweet was really “offensive”. It’s actually pretty funny, and probably something we could have gotten away with on this site. In fact I bet Lin laughed about it. However, since Whitlock is in that “top tier” he will be scrutinized over and over again. His tweet wasn’t what one could call outright “racist”. It was a racial stereotype that most adults, and teenagers, are 100% aware of. Being full-blood Irish, I am pounded with racial stereotypes all the time: I’m a drunk, the ‘Irish curse’, all I eat is potatoes, etc. For the most part racial stereotypes aren’t meant to be mean-spirited, they’re meant to be playful, with just enough statical proof to be hurtful truth. Now, I could go into a long diatribe of why the tweet was wrong, and why he shouldn’t say stuff like that blah blah blah, but who cares? It’s old news and it’s been talked about and written about by a million people. Literally, a million people, and that’s probably why Whitlock is sensitive to what anyone – big or small – says about him on the internet. The only thing I will say on the subject is that I think it’s actually humorous. A person who often writes about the racial injustices in sports finds himself in ‘hot water’ for making a racially insensitive comment.
However, this google search did provide me with what I was looking for. One shining example that Whitlock did in fact admit that he made a mistake. He shouldn’t have tweeted the comment. In his claim that my sentence written about him last week was 100% wrong, he was 100% right. Once again, I find myself apologizing for something I wrote in public, and by public I mean the Internet. The worst of all public places.
Jason Whitlock, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I am a reader of yours. I think you’re original. I think your unique voice lends itself to a sea of familiars. I urge you to keep fighting the fight you want to fight, and I consider it an honor you would even read anything I typed. Yea, I’m kissing up a bit, but what I’m writing is also true. Of course, that’s just my opinion.
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