Sports | June 5, 2020 11:50 am

Departed Fox Sports Host Jason Whitlock Talks About Leaving Network

The “Speak for Yourself” host joined FS1 in 2016

Whitlock, 53, left his FS1 talk show "Speak For Yourself" just two weeks ago
Former FS1 host Jason Whitlock. (Fox)

In an interview with Front Office Sports, Jason Whitlock discussed his departure from FS1 after his contract with Fox Sports expired on Sunday and was not extended.

Whitlock, who previously worked at ESPN and joined FS1 in 2016, was the co-host of the weekday Speak For Yourself studio show.

Though he was offered a contract extension to stay at the network, a raise was not part of the offer, Whitlock said. The pandemic may have been a factor in the negotiations, but it was never used as a justification for the offer. Not wanting to settle for less than thought he was worth, Whitlock decided to move on.

“At 53, it’s go-time,” he said. “I’m in my prime. And my unifying message and point of view are more valuable in this era of social-media-driven racial polarization. People want to know how we can all get along. I’m the only person in sports media offering a plausible pathway forward.”

The 53-year old said that he felt like the network “prioritized” promoting Skip Bayless and his Undisputed show over Speak For Yourself.

“[The people who work on Speak For Yourself] wanted more promotional and marketing support,” he said. “I think the network prioritized getting eyeballs on Undisputed and getting a return on the investment in Skip Bayless. You make a big bet, you do whatever is necessary to cash that ticket.”

Bayless also faces an uncertain future at Fox with his contract set to expire in September.

Sources told The New York Post that Whitlock is looking into starting his own direct-to-consumer business and following the model laid out by media personalities like Bill Simmons. He confirmed to FOS that is his intention.

“The people making a major impact in the media space the last decade have done it independently,”  Whitlock said. “They’ve leveraged their audience into platforms they control. That’s what I want to do. I’m late. But better late than never.”

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