New York magazine has a new 4,000-word feature on ESPN personality Jason Whitlock out, and while it offers a good (if familiar) rundown of Whitlock’s career and how he ended up getting fired from his own non-existent website before it even launched, it offers nothing first-hand from its subject. What’s funny is that as we hear it, the piece was supposed to have heavy participation from Whitlock, and didn’t for highly Whitlockian reasons.
Reeves Wiedeman writes that while reporting the profile, he was supposed to fly to Indianapolis to attend Whitlock’s semi-famed Memorial Day barbecue and then continue to Los Angeles to visit the offices of his site, The Undefeated. (This was two weeks before Whitlock was fired.) But just 12 hours prior to Wiedeman’s flight to Indianapolis, Whitlock rescinded his invitation:
My flights were booked when Whitlock called from an unknown number 12 hours before my departure. Half an hour later, he had uninvited me from both trips for reasons that were off the record, but did little to convince me that others I spoke to who have worked and interacted with him, at ESPN and elsewhere, were being overly harsh in describing him as paranoid, dismissive of young writers, and difficult to work with.
According to multiple sources, on that phone call Whitlock told Wiedeman that he followed too many New York liberal hipsters on Twitter, and, further, that Wiedeman was too inexperienced a journalist to tell his story.
Wiedeman is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and has written for New York and Grantland, among other publications. Like every New York-based media member, he certainly follows some New York liberal hipsters on Twitter, however you define those terms. How many is too many is a question only Whitlock can answer.
Wiedeman didn’t respond to an e-mail request for comment.