ESPN and pundit Jason Whitlock have agreed to part ways, Sports Illustrated reported Sunday. Whitlock, who was hired in August 2013 as editor in chief of a still yet to be launched website, previously worked for ESPN in the 2000s.
ESPN brought on Whitlock as the founding editor of a site, called The Undefeated, covering the intersection of sports and race. It was announced in June that Whitlock had been ousted from the site, which had experienced a number of troubles throughout its short history. SI reported Sunday the network bought out the remainder of his contract.
“We have mutually agreed to part ways, which was Jason's preference following the shift from his role as editor in chief," an ESPN spokesperson told Sports Illustrated. "Jason is a talented print and television commentator, and we wish him success in his next chapter ESPN remains fully committed to The Undefeated and plans continue toward an official launch."
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) October 4, 2015
Whitlock had previously worked with the company from 2002 to 2006 before, but was fired for making disparaging remarks about colleagues. The Undefeated has hit numerous speed bumps since its inception and has yet to make an official debut, instead having a handful of articles under the site's name and branding appear on ESPN.com.
Both the New York Times and Deadspin extensively covered troubles that plagued the boutique site, Deadspin especially critical of the leadership abilities of the often inflammatory Whitlock. Since his ouster as the editor, Whitlock has appeared on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."
Whitlock's departure marks just the latest big-name talent to be let go from the self-described "worldwide leader in sports." Bill Simmons, former editor in chief of ESPN sports and culture boutique site Grantland, was let go after a 15-year tenure with the network following a lengthy suspension for comments made about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Popular radio host and TV personality Colin Cowherd left in July.
Cowherd defected for Fox Sports, which Sports Illustrated suggested is the most likely landing spot for the Whitlock. Sports Business Daily previously reported Whitlock had already engaged in talks with the network.