ESPN removes Jason Whitlock from leadership role at 'The Undefeated'

Deadspin | ESPN Front Row

Jason Whitlock, the high-profile sportswriter selected to lead ESPN's forthcoming website focusing on race and sports, has been ousted from its leadership more than a year after his appointment.

The announcement, which comes months after Whitlock rejoined ESPN to launch the website, puts vice president and editorial director Leon Carter at the helm of "The Undefeated" on an interim basis.

Citing a push to "maximize the skill sets and strengths of our team," ESPN's announcement attributes the leadership shuffle to a desire to give Whitlock latitude to create "distinctive and compelling content." The release does not specify whether Whitlock will remain with the site.

Here's the announcement:

As we continue to move forward in the process of creating The Undefeated – a new ESPN site focusing on race and sports – 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. To that end, Jason Whitlock will now be entirely focused on what he does best: creating distinctive and compelling content, which will live across various ESPN platforms. Jason’s thought-provoking perspective has always been a hallmark of his work and this will allow him to completely devote his time and energy to that. As a result, he will make significant contributions to multiple ESPN entities and programs. Since returning to ESPN, Jason has been instrumental in assembling the foundation of a strong editorial team, formulating the vision for the project and collaborating with our digital product team to develop the blueprint for the site.

Leon Carter – an experienced leader in journalism who officially joined the site in January after leading staffs at the New York Daily News and – will assume all day-to-day management of the site’s editorial processes and personnel on an interim basis.

The website is slated to launch sometime this summer, according to its splash page.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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