Fox Sports Announcer Slams Cancel Culture, 'Social Media Outrage'

June 11th, 2020 9:52 AM

As he decided to exit the corporation of Fox Sports, former Speak For Yourself commentator, Jason Whitlock, provided Outkick the Coverage an exclusive interview to discuss his recent thoughts on all things current events. 

Whitlock Promo Tweet

The following is a list of highlights of the conversation and brief analysis on each one.

  1. Whitlock disagrees with the “Cancel Drew Brees” Crowd.

When asked about the coverage, he talks about how sad it is that the reaction across social media was so visceral.

“There used to be a time when you disagreed with someone’s harmless opinion and you just rolled your eyes and moved on to more important matters. That time has disappeared. We’re all now just fodder for each other’s social media outrage and righteousness. Social media is the real pandemic killing America and freedom."

And Whitlock is not alone in this assertion. Many of the same crowd who preaches that “silence is violence” has also said that “speech is violence.” So is it out of bounds to question if those people just want to use these phrases to vilify anyone who disagrees with their point of view?

And if that is the case, then it is really not a difficult logical jump to see how so many have been able to justify real ‘retaliatory’ violence.

  1. The Sports World’s Response to George Floyd’s Death

“What happened to George Floyd is a heinous, criminal tragedy. There is universal agreement on that. There should be a robust discussion on what should happen in the aftermath and what more we can do to prevent tragedies like that from ever happening to anyone living in America. We’re unlikely to have that discussion.”

It is here that Whitlock talks about how cancel-culture is greater than the power of the sports world. The goal-posts of success have shifted since the advent of social media. Success is now built around a person’s personal brand and is determined by number of followers/likes he/she gets. Meaning athletes have too much to lose to be willing to have the difficult discussions.

Role-models have been replaced with influencers.

  1. Whitlock Stands Firm On His Kaepernick Critique

"What was he right about? That police brutality is bad? I’ve never met anyone who believes police brutality is good. Police brutality is a societal issue that impacts all demographics. Police brutality is an abuse of power and authority. Racializing the discussion of police brutality prevents us from framing the discussion properly and framing it in a way that moves us toward progress. It’s a mistake to trivialize the heinous crime that happened to George Floyd by making it a discussion about a quarterback who used the issue to promote his Nike brand and a signature gym shoe."

The problem with Kaepernick was never that he thought police brutality was bad. It was not even that he was unwilling to stand for the National Anthem (although it is easy to see how many would take offense to that, and his avenue of protest could be improved.) The real problem was an assertion that he gave in an interview after he first knelt, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

First, he would have a legitimate cause if the problem was truly racial. But the numbers just do not pan out that way. 

Secondly, by saying this, Kaepernick essentially claimed that the collective is at fault for racist acts of individuals. And from a historical perspective, he also makes a subliminal assertion that everyone must now pay penance for the sins of their ancestors.

How are either of those things “justice”? That is much more like heavily misdirected revenge.

  1. Whitlock Remains Critical of the Ever-vocal LeBron James

Whitlock was openly critical of LeBron James for his tweet about Ahmad Arbury. Given LeBron’s clout in the sports world (especially on social/racial issues,) Whitlock was given a chance to amend the statement. Instead, he said 

"I don’t regret the criticism of LeBron. The first sentence in his tweet was dishonest and intended to promote outrage. He said we (black men) are hunted every day, every time we step out of the house or something close to that. It’s a ridiculous statement, not supported by a single fact. It’s a statement that promotes an irrational fear. Fear and emotion are the enemy of rational thought and rational behavior. Social media promotes an anecdote-driven worldview rather than an information-and-fact-driven worldview.”

  1. Whitlock is Leaving FS1.

His reason for leaving is simple: “I believe in myself. When I was presented parameters for my return to FS1, and then I looked at other options with more upside, control and freedom, it became clear returning to FS1 would be fear-based, not opportunity-based. I reject fear.”

Anyone who has followed Whitlock understands that his perspective on the platform has been consistently contrarian to what the sports world usually has to offer. Never caught up in “wokism,” Whitlock’s level head may be missed at FS1. That said, whatever opportunities that may be on the horizon is the true definition of Whitlock pursuing a better life in a country that is very flawed, but also very free. This decision to follow his “American Dream” goes to show that Whitlock is someone that can be controversial, but is willing to practice what he preaches.