Controversial sports commentator Jason Whitlock has expressed doubts about the sincerity of the Colin Kaepernick national anthem protest.
Kaepernick, the former starting quarterback and now the San Francisco 49ers backup QB, has been taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a protest against oppression which has made national headlines and inspired some other athletes to do the same.
After two tours of duty with ESPN, Jason Whitlock — the former Kansas City Star columnist — is back with Fox Sports.
With Colin Cowherd, another ESPN expatriate, Whitlock is the co-host of Speak For Yourself, a new offering on Fox Sports 1 airing weekdays at 6 p.m. Eastern time, which may be the network’s answer to ESPN’s popular Pardon the Interruption.
With opinions all over the map, Jason Whitlock in the past has been alternatively accused by his detractors — many of whom make their feelings known on Twitter — of playing the race card, as well as being a sellout and an Uncle Tom.
In turn, Whitlock is no fan of what he derisively calls hashtag warriors or hashtag rallies.
“Over the years, Whitlock has taken several unpredictable and often unpopular positions, especially when racial issues intersect with sports,” the New York Times detailed in September, 2010.
Although most sports media pundits have heaped praise on Kaepernick, Jason Whitlock is not among them, as he explained on Thursday night’s show about what he apparently considers a childish protest that lacks substance.
“This kid was about Instagram models, tattoos, his abs, and building up the Colin Kaepernick brand until the very moment he loses his starting quarterback job. And now he’s out here and he’s ‘Martin Luther Cornrow.’ And he’s got cornrows, he’s Allen Iverson, he’s Angela Davis. I don’t buy it.”
Whitlock left ESPN for the second time in the fall of 2015, several months after losing his gig as editor-in-chief of the long-form sports journalism site The Undefeated, which has been described as the “black Grantland.” The Undefeated finally launched officially on May 17, 2016, although the sports network shut down Grantland in late October 2015, five months after the departure of high-profile editor Bill Simmons.
“When I look at Colin Kaepernick, I see a symptom of this misuse of football…he doesn’t know how good football has been to him,” Whitlock told Cowherd. “If there’s a problem with police, take it to their headquarters.”
Whitlock also slammed Kaepernick in a separate monologue.
“Football and its people are not politically correct or liberal. Football culture is conservative and religious…football is a unifier. Kaepernick’s tactic and unnuanced demonization of police are divisive, counter-productive, and a distraction from real issues impacting African-Americans.”
The FS1 host also claimed that for those who coach the sport, “football is a ministry to help overcome life obstacles and unhealthy biases. Football coaches fight social injustices by involvement and doing…they’re not hashtag warriors and complainers, they’re warriors.”
In a separate back and forth with Cowherd, Whitlock argued that about 500 people have been killed in Chicago, but no one is bringing that to the forefront. He also insisted that “getting killed by a cop is very hard, and if you don’t run from them, it’s damn near impossible.”
In a July broadcast, Whitlock suggested that African-Americans have more to fear from a lightning strike than a police shooting.
In April, shortly after Kobe Bryant’s final game, Jason Whitlock accused the Los Angeles Lakers superstar of being a selfish fraud and that his final game, in which Bryant poured in 60 points, was “hot garbage.”
In March, Jason Whitlock claimed that the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam because the NFL wanted to engage in a politically correct stunt rather than Sam’s defensive skills on the gridiron.
Do you agree or disagree with Jason Whitlock’s views on the Colin Kaepernick national anthem protest?
[Featured Image by by John Amis/AP]