Jason Whitlock, the sports journalist who had a falling out with ESPN over the management of a web project that was supposed to have examined issues of race in sport, is returning to Fox Sports as a columnist and on-air personality.
Whitlock will post commentary in a digital venue called “J. School.” Fox Sports said he would also launch a podcast soon. The 21st Century Fox unit will develop a program for him for the cable outlet Fox Sports 1 and expects it to debut in the first quarter of 2016.
The journalist has enjoyed a 25-year-long career chronicling sports. He was a general-interest sports columnist for the Kansas City Star from 1994 to 2007 after writing for the Bloomington Herald-Times, Charlotte Observer and Ann Arbor News. He’s also written for Playboy Magazine, Vibe Magazine and The Sporting News. He has also worked in talk radio and guest-hosted Jim Rome’s nationally syndicated radio program, “The Jungle.”
“At FS1, we are consistently looking for people with perspectives who are independent, original and fearless,” said Jamie Horowitz, president of national networks for Fox Sports, in a prepared statement. ” We are eager to add his voice to FS1.”
Whitlock had been working for ESPN on a project known as “The Undefeated,” a digital-media venue that was supposed to examine racial issues in sports, among other topics. The digital publication was seen as an attempt to capitalize on the success of “Grantland,” a sports-and-popular-culture chronicle founded by the well-known sportswriter Bill Simmons. Simmons parted ways with ESPN earlier this year. Whitlock was removed from his post as editor in chief of the new project after working on it for a year and a half. The project remains largely unrealized.
“I feel like the journalist I’ve always been, the opinion-maker I’ve always been. I feel free to be me and not persecuted for being me,” Whitlock said Wednesday on a Fox Sports radio program hosted by Colin Cowherd, another former ESPN employee. ” It’s an overwhelming sense of relief and joy.”
Fox Sports and Whitlock have a history. The journalist worked for Fox Sports between 2007 and 2013, and won a National Journalism Award for commentary from The Scripps Howard Foundation in 2008 -the only sportswriter to receive that prize. He left Fox Sports in 2013 to re-join ESPN, where he had worked from 2000 to 2006.