[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There’s a guy named Jason Whitlock who works in sports media. Jason used to write for ESPN and then FOX Sports; like many sports writers who I used to read back in the day, Jason now does the majority of his work via video (he hosts Speak for Yourself on FS1) and audio, rarely writing (money for good writing these days has shrunk significantly, even for those who did it as a full-time job).
Jason got my attention as a writer because of his contrarian point of view. He’s railed against the misogyny and exploitation of negative minority stereotypes in rap music (while still admitting that he listens — calling it “musical porn”). Jason minimized the supposed devastation that LeBron James felt when the n-word was allegedly painted on LeBron’s house while the home was vacant. Jason has been an outspoken and frequent detractor of Colin Kaepernick ever since Kap’s protest began.
All of this, and more, has mixed itself up into a simple concoction: Being anti-Whitlock has become a staple for both famous and not-famous Black people on social media.
There are only two reason for this, the first being that Whitlock, as thebexmaples above show, willingly takes positions that go against the grain of what “everybody” else is saying. The second is that Jason, for all his against-the-grainness, has incredibly thick skin. He doesn’t take disses personally and doesn’t get into the petty back-and-forths for which many of our favorite rappers and athletes can’t seem to resist taking the bait. Jason doesn’t subscribe to clapback culture, where one tries to land the one post or status update that so engages and entertains the audience as to shut down an adversary in conversation.
These two truths make Jason an easy target.
Easy for anyone who claims to be standing up or speaking up for “the culture.”
Anyone who wants to make a cheap show of their woke-ness online by berating a guy who isn’t going to attack back.
Anyone who wants to hear a round of applause from the social media peanut gallery.
Anyone who may fully believe everything bad they say about Jason or his arguments — but at the same time may not believe any of it — but we’ll never know, because followers and popularity are on the line. Inclusion is a hell of a drug.
The latest Whitlock engagement came from one of my favorite retired NBA players, Stephen Jackson. Jackson isn’t so much a Whitlock detractor; he actually appears on Whitlock’s FS1 show from time to time and participates in the show’s largely logical debates (the panelists rarely all agree with each other, but this isn’t First Take-level made-up arguments and yelling).
Jax took a clip out of Speak For Yourself where he was defending rap music and rap artists against Whitlock and posted it to his Instagram (of course) and captioned that he had to defend hip-hop against what he deemed a false claim by Whitlock. Fine, save for the fact that Whitlock never said what Jax’s caption claimed to be debunking.
Speak For Yourself posted a video the next day of the follow-up conversation where Jax’s IG post and straw man argument was addressed.
I browsed the comments of Jax’s orginal Instagram video and saw the comments I’d expect from such a post: A lot of co-signing by players, fans, and whomever else.
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