Jason Whitlock needs to brush up on Pulitzer Prize winner George Dohrmann’s credentials

When Sports Illustrated broke its story on Oklahoma State yesterday, Jason Whitlock went trolling via his Twitter account for Oklahoma radio stations to call him.

Sure enough, the Oklahoma City Sports Animal found him. Whitlock, as only he can, went to great lengths to debunk SI’s package.

His reason? One of the co-authors is Thayer Evans.

Kelly Hines in the Tulsa World had the diatribe, which included this:

“But then in addition to that, having worked with Thayer Evans at Fox Sports, having followed his work for some time, I am completely and utterly flabbergasted that a legitimate news outlet would allow Thayer Evans to be involved in some type of investigative piece on college football that tears down a program, and particularly one that tears down Oklahoma State when it is no secret what a huge, enormous, gigantic Oklahoma homer Thayer Evans is. This is just incredible. Knowing the lack of competence that’s there with Thayer Evans, knowing the level of simplemindedness that’s there with Thayer Evans, to base any part of the story on his reporting is mind-boggling.

And then it gets worse with Whitlock concluding:

“ … Let me end by saying this and I honestly mean this without malice. It wouldn’t shock me if Thayer Evans couldn’t spell cat and I say in all seriousness.”

Oh, I’m sure Evans didn’t see any malice in that statement.

Whitlock also had this statement:

“ … I can’t disparage (other writer George Dohrmann) because I have never worked with him. I have never seen any of his raw copy or anything like that.

Oh yes, George Dohrmann. Take a look at this excerpt from his bio, Jason.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED senior writer George Dohrmann is the rare sportswriter to have won a Pulitzer Prize. He earned journalism’s top honor in 2000 while at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Pulitzer cited his “determined reporting, despite negative reader reaction, that revealed academic fraud in the men’s basketball program at the University of Minnesota.”

Jason, George won a Pulitzer Prize. You know, the same prize that you openly campaigned for last year.

I would say winning a Pulitzer gives Dohrmann fairly solid credentials to tackle this kind of story, especially since that Pulitzer came from his investigation of a college program.

And Jason, Dohrmann wrote the story. The entire package was overseen by SI executive editor Jon Wertheim, who has some impressive credentials in his own right.

In a Q/A with Anthony Slater of NewsOK.com, Dohrmann addressed the reporting that went into the story.

DG: How credible do you think the sources are?

Dohrmann: Very credible, or we wouldn’t write these things. These are players who spoke to us on the record, who we found. They didn’t come to us, they didn’t come and say, ‘Oh, I got a story to tell.’ We had to track them down and go to them and then hear their stories. This wasn’t something where, I think there’s a perception that, a lot of people who talk about their school is bitter because they got kicked off the team or they didn’t start. But you played the game, a lot of guys aren’t bitter at all, sometimes they are just years removed from this experience and you go and see them and they have time on their hands and you show them attention and you’re curious about their experience and they share it with you. Sometimes it’s not a guy sitting their spewing venom about a school he once attended.

Whitlock, though, isn’t impressed with what he calls the “brand of sports writers who love doing these investigative pieces.”

They are not hard to do these days in terms of so-and-so got this money under the table. We’re into this area where unnamed sources can say anything, any of these he-said, she-said stories. I don’t respect the entire brand of investigative journalism that is being done here. It’s not our job to go out and do NCAA policing.

“ … There’s some cute girl on campus who is a hostess who may have slept with one of these players. This has been going on for years and it goes on in the frathouses and the academic corruption they are going to talk about goes on in the frathouses and all across campus. We are singling out these athletes. It’s a good story. It will get you a promotion. It will get you on SportsCenter. It will get you talked about on this radio show and all over Twitter. But it’s bogus. It’s a trick for clicks.

Ah yes, SportsCenter. ESPN has several highly regarded investigative reporters who break stories on college improprieties all the time. Now that Whitlock is back at ESPN, it will be interesting if he has the same assessment when one of his colleagues uncovers dirt on campus. And it becomes the lead story on SportsCenter.

The local radio stations of the school should be sure to give Whitlock a call. He’ll be available for comment.


13 thoughts on “Jason Whitlock needs to brush up on Pulitzer Prize winner George Dohrmann’s credentials

    • I believe he is referencing Thomas Henderson’s famous quote about Terry Bradshaw…”He couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the “C” and the “A.”

  1. Whitlock has made it clear that in his current position at the network he is not going to criticize ESPN (a far more honest answer than others who claim they’ll keep doin’ what they do), so as far as trolling goes, your last paragraph could be used in a J-school classroom….I have read numerous articles by Mr. Dohrmann and I take his take very seriously, and as expected Whitlock’s rant is over the top (especially his use of the phrase “without malice”). But a number of OSU former players have questioned the SI investigation, Yes, they have a stake in impugning the articles, but SI employees and their friends have a stake in defending them. And while Mr. Dohrmann should be proud of a Pulitzer Prize, such a prize does not necessarily guarantee great work following its award, nor even great work that precipitated the award (eg, Janet Cooke). By the way, I was afraid you might shut down this site when you went back to work for the newspaper, and I am grateful that you haven’t…

  2. He was fully justified in exposing the fraud that is Thayer Evans. Intersting that you bring up Dohrmann’s Pulitzer, but completely avoid mentioning Evans’ complete lack of integrity or credibility.

    He lied on his resume and has a long history of shoddy and bogus reporting. I’m sure it was coincidence that as soon as the NY Times had to apologize to the University of Texas, that Thayer suddenly was looking for a new job.

    Thayer Evans is an insult to the journalistic profession, and you may want to do some research yourself on him, as defending him makes aligns you with him.

    You really want to associate yourself with Thayer Evans’ filth?

    I don’t know why Dohrmann and SI would sell their souls for Jerry Springer type reporting, but it is truly saddening.

  3. “Whitlock, though, isn’t impressed with what he calls the ‘brand of sports writers who love doing these investigative pieces.'”

    And what, pray tell, is the “brand of sports writer” that Whitlock is? Pot, meet kettle. School of Skip Bayless shock journalism. ESPN got scooped, plain and simple. Deal with it.

  4. Jason Whitlock is the biggest hypocrite in sports journalism history. He rips on ESPN for years, then kisses John Skipper’s ass to get back there. The guy has never broken a big story in his entire career, but he gets to lecture those who can. Can’t make this stuff up.

  5. Credible sources such as Calvin Mickens who was not only kicked off the team for drug use but currently has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in the state of Oklahoma? Yes I can see how he is to be believed over the likes of Brandon Weeden. Also he claims to have Tatum Bell on tape yet William Bell is the tape they keep playing. William being yet another player kicked off the team for drugs. Tatum however denies ever being contacted by SI and denies all allegations. Lets not forget the three deceased persons they accuse. Yes, fine journalism. Pulitzer repeat? I dare say not!

  6. One last thing- dohrmann has gone on record saying they did not pay any of their sources. However that fine upstanding citizen mr mickens was on twitter bragging about getting paid from SI. Oops. Or at least until this morning when his twitter account disappeared as quickly as mr Evans finite credibility! Question? If mr dohrmann knew where mr mickens was (which he obviously did if he interviewed him) and he did such a fine job vetting his sources , then he knew about the outstanding warrant correct? Could that be considered aiding and abetting? Food for thought . Great guy though. Not

  7. Not a big fan of whitlock, but agree this SI “story” was total garbage from day 1. They lost a lot of people with this one.

    ESPN’s a bunch of Disney corporate homers now, but SI is getting into “Bat Child” Weekly World News territory.

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