ESPN: Whitlock’s statements were “not acceptable” regarding Evans

It didn’t take long for Jason Whitlock to become topic A in Bristol.

This morning, ESPN issued a statement, saying his comments towards Sports Illustrated’s Thayer Evans were “not acceptable.”

“We have discussed Jason’s comments with him. They were personal in nature, they do not represent ESPN and they are not acceptable based on the standards we have set.”

Tuesday, Whitlock went on an Oklahoma City radio station and blasted Evans, who along with George Dohrmann is writing a series of stories about improprieties in the Oklahoma State football program.

ESPN has media policies in place about how its employees should address the competition. As in they really aren’t supposed to comment or criticize other media.

However, they are allowed to weigh in if it warrants discussing media coverage of a particular story. Even then, they are asked to follow certain guidelines.

The policy contains this line: “Comments must not be personal, vicious, dismissive…No cheap shots.”

And then there’s this: “No personal attacks or innuendo toward people, media companies, networks or publications.”

Now you be the judge about whether Whitlock crossed the line with comments about Evans to an Oklahoma City radio station.

“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.”

Does that fall under the category of a personal attack, juror 1?

And then there’s this from Whitlock.

“ … 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.”

Ding-ding-ding. Sound the cheap shot bell. I still love how he insisted that line was meant “without malice.”

Finally, Whitlock blasted “the brand of sports writers who love doing these investigative pieces.”

Yep, didn’t exactly go over well with ESPN’s many sports investigative reporters, who are among the best in the business.

I don’t respect the entire brand of investigative journalism that is being done here.

To add the whole dynamic, Whitlock sought a forum for his comments with a tweet inviting Oklahoma radio stations to give him a call for an interview. Not that he meant any malice.

Obviously, Whitlock veered from ESPN’s media policy on many different levels. The network responded to quell any internal fires as much as anything else.

Several of his new teammates talked about a double standard. They speculated what would happen to them if they went on the same rant.

“I’d be fired,” a staffer said.

Since Whitlock might not be current on ESPN’s policies, he likely received a lecture filling him in on what is acceptable at his new place of employment.

It might be a while before Whitlock comments about the competition again. And if he does, it definitely will be without malice.








8 thoughts on “ESPN: Whitlock’s statements were “not acceptable” regarding Evans

  1. ESPN should congratulate the man instead of berating him. He had the fortitude to tell it like it is rather than not embarrassing another “media” outlet.

  2. Someone from the media is finally telling the truth about Thayer Evans; so we’re going to throw him under the bus? Are reporters the only profession required to protect the incompetent idiots among their ranks?

  3. Have you changed your mind yet in light of the DISPROVEN allegations today via ACTUAL DOCUMENTS that were never sought by Dohrmann and Evans? Whitlock is one of the only media members who will expose the shady and unethical practices of Evans.

  4. Oh please, ESPN, tell me you are not saying to ignore a hack who is presenting no facts or evidence! Whitlock calls a spade a spade and rightfully so! At least Yahoo’s article on the five SEC players had specifics and evidence, not chopped up videos, misleading sources who said general things and not specifically about one University!! Bury your head in the sand when News “reporters” do a crappy job, but if a University makes a mistake these “moronic Hacks”: are the ones who jump and sensationalize anything for their narcissitic benefit.

  5. Hey ESPN, Whitlock has a pair and stated the facts, Evans is a know hack and an ambulance chaser. He has an agenda and is a documented liar of the laziest variety. Thank You Mr. Whitlock for being a stand up Journalist and in my eyes lifting up the ESPN brand.

  6. Any organization that would muzzle an employee that was simply stating his experience with a hack of the same profession will suffer the same fate as the hack. Instead of covering for the bad apple in the journalism barrell ESPN should be exposing him.

    I would also submit that ESPN should give Alabama’s allegations at least equal play and scrutiny as you have Okla. State’s.

  7. Whitlock’s comments might have been “politically incorrect” regarding Evans…but that doesn’t mean they were wrong were they?

    Evans and Pete Thamel have had MULTIPLE instances of being called out for incorrect reporting, twisting quotes from people to give them a new meaning and going beyond the bounds and ground rules of ‘investigative reporting.’

    These two individuals have an agenda, they only ‘investigate’ certain schools and individuals and use people to try to further their careers.

    They are two examples of what is dead-wrong about the media today.

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