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Run For Your Lives! It’s Bizarro Jason Whitlock!

What in the heck is going on? Jason Whitlock: playing nice with ESPN? Did I hit my head or something? Have I tripped and stumbled through an internet wormhole leaving me in some parallel universe where up is down and down is up?

Whitlock comes to the defense – perhaps “defense” isn’t the best word – but in his column regarding the Tony Kornheiser-Hannah Storm kerfuffle, Whitlock is ambivalent at best as to his opinion whether ESPN was right or wrong to suspend Kornheiser for the critical comments he made about Hannah Storm’s wardrobe. The ambivalence stems from the fact he sees nothing wrong with the suspension, yet he maintains a  “don’t shoot the messenger” position as well at the same time.

Perhaps even more surprising, throughout the piece, Whitlock actually goes out of his way to compliment his former employer, and anyone who is familiar Whitlock and the unwarranted (yet hilarious) potshots he has taken at ESPN and their on-air personalities over the years should be shocked at this development.

In Whitlock’s opinion, the controversial comments made by Kornheiser should almost be looked upon as a selfless act of chivalry made on behalf of every other female broadcaster or reporter currently employed by ESPN.

At the root of his crude humor about Hannah Storm’s SportsCenter attire was a courageous defense of Chris McKendry, Linda Cohn, Suzy Kolber, Michele Tafoya, Sage Steele, Shelley Smith, Lisa Salters, Rachel Nichols, Holly Rowe and all the other female broadcasters/reporters who do magnificent work on the Worldwide Leader without masquerading as Tiger bait…

Sometimes people do the right thing on accident. Sometimes our inability to control our instincts gives us a level of courage we don’t normally have. Kornheiser has never been short on savvy or backbone. Intentionally or unintentionally, he slammed a worthy target.

Okay, that’s fair enough and hardly a surprising position taken by Whitlock. He continues ridicule how Storm presents herself inappropriately in light of the position of power she holds at the network:

This past Sunday, Storm took things a step further, going Johnny Gill on The Sports Reporters — slipping on a tiny red dress, high heels, bare legs that dangled out of TV sets across America and making men and women say “My, my, my.”

I watched the whole show hoping for a Sharon Stone-“Basic Instinct” moment.

If this was the crux of Whitlock’s argument, it would constitute what we have come to expect from the talented, albeit occasionally controversial-for-controversy’s-sake-journalist. However, there are snippets throughout the column where it enters Bizarro Whitlock territory and he actually praises ESPN, an event so previously unheard of it had to be noted.

ESPN has always done a marvelous job of identifying and presenting credible female anchors.

And…

Whatever the cause, Storm’s hey-look-at-me costumes are potentially problematic for ESPN. The network does an amazing, commendable and often-overlooked job of employing a diverse and talented on-air workforce. It’s a potpourri reflective of the sports world it covers.

What the? Fair, even-handed, complimentary, almost entirely devoid of any sarcasm? The heck? Who is the person writing this and what did they do with the real Jason Whitlock? Identify yourself, dammit, you mysterious, body-snatching doppelganger!

Inside the Storm brewing in Bristol [FoxSports]