Hey, Jason. Yesterday, you wrote a piece on your new personal blog in which you called me an Uncle Tom and a fabricator. I’m going to address those here, on my personal blog. This is a tedious, boring thing between us, and so this is the last 16 you’re ever going to get.
Working for Deadspin is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, because I’ve learned a lot here. The most important thing I’ve learned at Deadspin is to say exactly what you mean: don’t be afraid of words, and don’t think of reasons not to call things what they are. Write true things.
This beef of ours started after we published “The Big Book of Black Quarterbacks.” In it, there’s a section on RGIII, and in that section, there’s commentary on you.
Your most impressive skill as a writer has always been your proficiency in speaking in dog whistles and code. When you call me a “token black mascot” or an “updated Jayson Blair” you are speaking in code. Here you are last week on Twitter, again speaking in code.
“Thugs,” “gangs,” “Cripsters,” “‘knockout’ game.” It’s obvious what you’re doing here, and who you are trying to align yourself with.
In “Black Quarterbacks,” I noted that you wrote that RGIII had too much swagger, isn’t humble enough, and most curiously, that he is arrogant for playing injured. This is code. You were calling him a nigger. You often rail against or flinch from the word nigger, but you are a wealthy man now because you are one of the only mainstream writers in the world still willing to call black people niggers in 2015.
It took a few rounds of edits from Tommy Craggs and Tim Marchman to stop dancing around this point, and to just say what I mean. Marchman, Craggs, the rest of our team, and I wrote and edited the 30,000-word piece. When you say that I am their mouthpiece ...
... you are conflating editing with ghostwriting. You’re showing your ass. You’re telling everyone that, on a fundamental level, you don’t know what an editor actually does. Your lack of understanding of basic, working fundamentals of journalism is one of the reasons why you failed as the editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, and why you now blog on a Tumblr for Fox Sports, a multi-platform network with a website of its own that functions just fine.
You’re self-delusional, which is why you thought that we wrote a 30,000-word article in part to troll you. But your biggest flaws as a writer are your lack of curiosity and foresight.
You write in your blog post that I kept texting and calling you, even leaving voicemails. You didn’t add that I called you virtually up until the day we posted our profile of you.
I kept calling you up until the day we published the article because I couldn’t find a single person who was fond of you as a writer, who respected you as a person, who thought you were anything but an Uncle Tom. I wanted you to be able to defend yourself. But you’re self-delusional, which is why you thought I was calling to get back in your good graces. You lack curiosity, which is why you didn’t pick up the phone even once. You lack foresight, which is why you told all your closest friends—the only people willing to go to bat for you—not to speak to me, either.
For a long time, while reporting the piece, I had you pegged as an Uncle Tom. It was only after reporting and rounds of editing that I realized you weren’t. It’s why I’ve never once called you an Uncle Tom. To be an Uncle Tom is to adhere to a specific kind of evil, one that requires foresight and intent. You’re not evil. You just don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re too lazy to go find out.
Over the last year and a half of reporting on you and The Undefeated, I’ve spent days and days trying to get a better sense of who you are, and I’ve found that despite your bravado, you are a lonely, sad figure. You’re pitiable, and yet no one pities you, because in an attempt to match your life to your self-delusion, you hurt people. You say you are the king, and try to reach your station by stepping on people close to you, people you think are less than you. You’re sexist and racist, and even worse, you’re a bully who took pleasure in terrorizing people unfortunate enough to have faith in you, like The Undefeated executive editor Amy DuBois Barnett, and your writer Jerry Bembry, and your one-time secretary and close friend, Erin Buker. If events were just a little different, I would’ve been right there with them. That’s why you failed. That’s why you are at Fox Sports.
There’s no other explanation, and yet here you are, two blogs deep into your second Explanation, hiding behind black Christianity and Serena Williams (of all people), once again clinging to relevance, once again trying to make others feel the pain and shame you feel coursing through your veins. You lack so much self-awareness that I doubt you even fully grasp how ironic and funny it is to name your latest endeavor The Explanation 2.0. But I refuse to believe that even you fail to see the poetry in being taken in by Fox Sports, the only place more cynical than ESPN, and sitting across the couch from Colin Cowherd, who even you would agree doesn’t amount to a ruptured left nut on his best day.
Surely you can see that Fox Sports adding you to Cowherd and Clay Travis says nothing about their faith in you and everything about their executives’ contempt for the women and people of color who work at Fox Sports and who consume its content. Fox Sports is a retirement home for the very worst of us, a living museum where you can go to see what sportswriting used to be.
And yet, surely you see that setting you up with a personal Tumblr account where you can’t interrupt but can be easily summoned amounts to Fox Sports inviting you onto the estate and directing you to the slave quarters. Do you think you’re finally home? Do you still think you’re the king?
I doubt it gets much better for you from here. But best of luck.