Jason Whitlock was replaced today as the head of The Undefeated, an as-yet-unlaunched ESPN website located at the intersection of race and sports. He will be replaced by the site's editorial director, Leon Carter, on an interim basis. Whitlock will remain at ESPN, and according to a statement released by the sports news giant, will contribute "across various ESPN platforms."
The Undefeated has already produced a number of articles and was scheduled to launch sometime this summer. In recent months, however, clashes over Whitlock's managerial style surfaced to the public, painting a picture of chaos at the budding site. In April, Greg Howard of Deadspin wrote a scathing in-depth piece about Whitlock's "Black Grantland," which unearthed tense correspondence with some of his staff.
ESPN's press release announcing the news offers little in the way of reasoning for the shakeup. It states plainly, "we have collectively decided to make some structural adjustments that will maximize the skill sets and strengths of our team, leading to the best possible output for the site and for all of ESPN." In the context of Deadspin's unflinching coverage of Whitlock's potential faults, it doesn't take much to read between the lines.
Sports personalities and fans took to Twitter immediately to share their reactions:
(H/T: The New York Times)