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An Open Letter to Jason Whitlock

First, some background:

Jason Whitlock, of the Kansas City Star, wrote a surprisingly complimentary column about K-State's performance yesterday, which you can read here. It's a good read, and I agree with most of what he says.

The problem is, as I mentioned earlier, that this position is surprising because he was very vocal about the Frank Martin hire being a poor decision. ("K-State is a squad capable of finishing last in the Big 12?" Really, Jason?) Many K-State fans consider the Star to have greeted the hire with a "hatchet job" of articles about his high school past in Miami.

If nothing else, there was certainly a consensus among the KC media that the hire was a "panic move" and made solely to keep Beasley and Walker in the house. (Here's a recent example of Whitlock criticizing us for retaining Dalonte Hill.)

Funny how turning an 0-4 team around in a rebuilding year and launching a 6-game winning streak can change perceptions, isn't it? Now journalists are scrambling over each other to proclaim Martin as a candidate for Coach of the Year and project great things for the future of the Wildcats, who are bringing in the #20 recruiting class next season and show no signs of slowing down on the recruiting front.

Anyhow, Whitlock has a history of this sort of backpedaling. He developed a strong friendship with former K-State assistant coach Charles Baker, and it blinded him to Jim Wooldridge's flaws so severely that he was proclaiming an inevitable turnaround as late as the 2005-2006 season; Wooly was fired at the end of that season.

Nowadays, he is more likely to point out why Wooly was doomed to failure from the beginning. (Sorry I cannot provide links. I am having trouble finding the relevant articles in the Star's archives. I'll keep looking and post them if I find them, though.)

Anyhow, what really set me off today was when Whitlock descended upon to defend his previous (and completely unproven) assertion that Michael Beasley was provided a used Hummer when he was at K-State. I felt compelled to respond there, and I want to reproduce what I wrote over here because I suspect I'm not the only K-State blogger or blog reader who feels this way:

Jason, I frankly expect you to pull a Kietzman and disappear after leaving your nugget for us to chew on, but on the off chance you are actually interested in a real conversation, I have some comments for you to ponder.

First, I preface this by saying that while I have disagreed vehemently with you at times in the past, lately I find myself nodding in agreement to a lot of things you write. Furthermore, I feel you and the KC media have been more fair to Frank Martin this season than the previous season, even though many other fans are not willing to admit that because Purple Paranoia has taken a strong hold on the fan base since roughly around the time Snyder was rehired.

That said, please consider these criticisms:

  1. Even you have to admit the Hummer thing is pretty weak. I watched all of the "The Rookie" episodes and it was pretty clear to me he purchased that vehicle after he was drafted and signed his contract. You continue to dance around the fact that no one has ever presented a credible shred of proof that he had that thing in Manhattan. We journalists have a word for continuing to allege something that is unsupported by evidence, Jason - it's called libel.

  2. The larger issue, of course, is that you continue to hint that KSU is engaged in unsavory recruiting despite the fact that the coaching staff and the university to whom we just lost are on probation for multiple NCAA violations, have an institutional culture of bending the rules and/or outright cheating and are led by a man that acts like he is proud of having unauthorized contact with the #1 basketball recruit in the country. Can you not see the hypocrisy in that? Do you not understand why K-State fans take offense to it?

    Maybe we are dealing under the table; after all this Wefald and Krause crap, it wouldn't even surprise me anymore. All we are asking is that you shine the same flashlight on KU athletics that you like to use on us. A national championship does not absolve them of their sins.

Like I said before, I don't expect you to reply to this, but I hope you will at least consider this perspective the next time you write a "slam piece" on K-State. And to my fellow K-State fans, a little respect and courtesy can go a long way. It's no wonder he likes to needle us, when all you can respond with are personal attacks.

P.S. Please stop trying to dub Darren Sproles "Seabiscuit." It's not catching on. He's the "Little Tank."