Early Sunday morning – roughly a half-hour after I posted my writeup on Jason Whitlock’s racially insensitive tweet toward not just Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, but all Asians in general – Whitlock posted an apology on FoxSports.com. (Now that’s effectiveness.)
Whitlock was urged to make an apology by the Asian-American Journalists Association for his vague tweet following a career game for Lin, in which he expressed his hunch that “some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.” AAJA appeared to have accepted it.
All of a sudden, that doesn’t seem to be enough.
Today, Whitlock appeared on several radio shows, including Fox Sports Radio’s afternoon drive program “The Loose Cannons” to issue a verbal apology.
But wait, there’s more: Shortly after his radio business is done for the day, he posts his latest column, which is, more or less, a long-form apology.
Something’s not right here. Whitlock disclosed on “Cannons” that the AAJA “asked me for an apology. I gave them one, they accepted it, and seemed to be pleased.”
So why did he spend virtually the entire day stressing he was sorry, if it was accepted by the people that asked for it in the first place?
Did Fox Sports mandate Whitlock appear on their radio network to discuss it, and also write an apology longer than 200 words? And did Fox mandate that in this new “mea culpa” column, he could not drop the name of his friend Tiger Woods? Because I was surprised not to see him in the unabridged version of his written apology.
Though he referred to him on the radio with Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien. He recalled how he “overshadowed a feel-good sports moment for a lot of sports fans, but in particular, Asian-American sports fans” and that he would get the “same emotions” watching Woods play golf. “It was stupid for me to try to inject humor – particularly, insensitive humor – into that celebration.”
Actually, “J-Whit” would make a real stupid move during this interview. He says of the Lin tweet: “It was a joke on myself. The same stereotype afflicts overweight people, and I am one.” Then, moments later, when pressed for a “deeper meaning” for his tweet, he would say this: “Listen, I’m not gonna sit up here and make a bunch of excuses.”
I’m sorry, I believe you just did by trying to pass off a disparaging joke about Asian manhood and pass it off as a joke on “yourself.”
I write on behalf of myself, not on behalf of any group, gender or color. But seriously, if he really had himself in mind when he fired off that tweet in Jeremy Lin’s direction, how many “inches of pain” do you think would have registered on the Whitlock scale?
But he’s not going to make a bunch of excuses. He’s got an ass – and a reputation – to save.
“On Twitter, and in my personal life, I try to be funny, and I try to be a comedian… That’s part of my personality.”
Turning a slur against Asians into a slur against your non-Asian self – you’re a real laugh riot, Whitty.
But there was another boffo line toward the end of the interview on Fox Sports Radio, when he commented on the emergence in the NBA of Lin, who is actually a native of California. “We all like to see people who look like us excel, particularly when they excel in environments and in endeavors where we’re not supposed to have success,” Whitlock told the “Cannons” co-hosts. He gave female NASCAR fans’ acceptance of Danica Patrick as an example.
Then, he told the one about his “best white friend”. Destined to be an American Comedy Award winner, I’m sure.
“My best white friend growing up loved the Larry Bird. I wasn’t offended by that. I didn’t think they were racist because they enjoyed the fact that Larry Bird could dominate in a black sport. I totally got it, and we talked about it, and there was no problem because of it.”
Sorry, Shecky, I mean, Jason, but if “there was no problem” with Larry Bird dominating in “a black sport,” and you happen to be of African-American descent, then you wouldn’t have even made a mockery of a Chinese-American player dominating in “a black sport,” either. Can’t have it both ways, Carlin.
Unless you’ve changed in that department over the last twenty-five years or so.
But he spent most of the Fox Sports Radio segment not just upholding his apologies for his disgraceful social networking actions, but he defended his 20-year body of work as racially objective.
“If you look at my work as a journalist… I believe I’m as color-blind a sportswriter as there is.”
Take my trust – please.
Three years ago, in a piece about steroids in baseball, you managed to work a racial angle into it. Why, there’s even a passage that goes like this: “Black people (and other racial groups) do the same thing. As a kid, when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird met on the basketball court, I kept my own stats because I was convinced the scorers cheated Magic.”
Wonder if that “best white friend” of yours followed suit.
In August of last year, in your piece on University of Miami football booster Nevin Shapiro, you refer to “mandingo athletes.”
And this year, when the Raiders fired head coach Hue Jackson, you wondered if race was a factor, and wrote this: “If you’ve followed my media career, you know I’m not opposed to fanned flames of any racial, ethnic or lifestyle variety, moving in any direction. “Just burn, baby” is my column motto.”
Truer words were never spoken by “as color-blind a sportswriter as there is.”
Or a hypocrite who’s trying to fan the flickering flame of his vast journalism career.
Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Whitlock thinks the New England Patriots just don’t hire enough white players, as I pointed out in my previous Whitlock post.
In my previous post, I bet that Whitlock wouldn’t have even made an apology. But now that he has, I get the sense that he might lose his edge a little.
And public figures that mock Asians invite themselves into a buzzsaw. Rosie O’Donnell in 2006 on “The View” made that infamous “ching chong” comment; she would depart half a year later (contract issue). But she profusely apologized.
Last year, Rush Limbaugh spent twenty seconds in “ching chong” speak in referring to Chinese president Hu Jintao. He didn’t apologize – because he’s Rush Limbaugh.
And that’s why I didn’t think Jason Whitlock would apologize for his Jeremy Lin tweet – because he’s Jason Whitlock.
We can only expect a tamer Whitlock going forward.
Or is he going to let his inner comedian run the show? After all, that’s “part of his personality.”
I close with these thoughts from Whitlock from the Fox Sports interview: “I crossed the line, I apologize for it… When you criticize people as often as I do, there’s gonna be backlash. I just have to deal with it.”
There’s a saying that if you’re not pissing people off, you’re not doing your job.
Jason Whitlock just pissed an entire race of people off – and it’s anybody’s guess if he’ll still have a job when the dust settles.