The war of words between new Fox Sports employee Jason Whitlock and Deadspin’s Greg Howard continues to escalate. Whitlock blasted Howard on his new j.school site Wednesday, and Howard fired back Thursday on his personal Kinja blog, taking this feud to a whole new level.

He started off by responding to Whitlock’s criticisms of him, and particularly Whitlock’s discussion of the editing process of the February 2014 Deadspin article that had a small part criticizing Whitlock’s take on Robert Griffin III:

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. …

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.

That’s intense criticism in its own right, but it perhaps even ramps up a further notch (after a couple of paragraphs providing Howard’s side of the communication attempts leading up to Deadspin’s April 27 piece on Whitlock “poisoning” The Undefeated, and a paragraph saying Whitlock isn’t an Uncle Tom, but rather lazy) when Howard starts blasting Fox and Whitlock’s decision to go there:

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.

(Howard then includes some 2011 Whitlock tweets praising a Craggs takedown of Colin Cowherd.)

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.

That’s some highly-charged language, and against not just Whitlock, but Fox Sports and its executives. For his part, Whitlock has responded on Twitter:

(Were accusations of Howard being “a Jayson Blair” and a “token black mascot” #FactsOnly?)

Travis has also weighed in to bash Deadspin (with further coffee-house comments, because apparently that’s Deadspin’s reputation now?):

So, the war of words has pretty much gone nuclear at this point. This is one area where it’s notable seeing figures like Whitlock and Travis working with Fox rather than ESPN, which typically tries to keep its employees from engaging with criticism; Whitlock and Travis are firing away with both barrels at this point, and Fox doesn’t seem to mind too much yet. (As for Deadspin, they’ve pretty much always engaged criticism publicly.) It’s going to be interesting to see where this goes from here; Whitlock has hinted that he’s going to say much more about Deadspin and their pieces on him, and while Howard says this will be his final rebuttal to Whitlock, that may depend on what Whitlock does next. This has already been one of the nastiest public sports media flame wars we’ve seen, and it may not be over yet.

[Update: Yep, not over. Whitlock has brought up an alleged 2010 arrest of Howard:

Howard hasn’t responded yet, and tweeted earlier that his personal blog piece was “the last thing i’ll say on @whitlockjason.” We’ll see if that holds up.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

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