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Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: Is Jason Whitlock a 'blame whitey firster'?

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Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists

Some background might be in order before I proceed. Whitlock wrote a piece recently just after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, then shot himself.

In his column Whitlock, an African-American, (yes, that is pertinent to this story) took National Football League officials to task for allowing a game between the Chiefs and the Carolina Panthers to be played on Sunday, Dec. 2, only one day after the shocking and horrifying murder-suicide.

Whitlock's column was passionate; it was eloquent; it was extremely well written. I didn't agree with much of it, but the column was indeed all these things.

It was so well done, in fact, that it inspired NBC sportscaster Bob Costas to quote from it during the Dec. 2 Sunday Night Football game that pitted the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys.

Whitlock was sailing along just fine there, but then he had to TALK.

During a podcast with Roland Martin of CNN, Whitlock said he didn't go far enough in his column, in which he made clear his opposition to guns and support for gun control.

Then, this obviously intelligent man crossed the line that separates the reasonable from the truly daffy.

"You know, I did not go as far as I'd like to go because my thoughts on the [National Rifle Association] and America's gun culture, I believe the NRA is the new KKK."

No black American who has read the history of his people in this country could, with a clear conscience, support gun control. Whitlock apparently hasn't read that history; he hasn't read the history of the NRA either.

Washington Examiner columnist Jed Babbin more than adequately explained how wrong Whitlock was about his NRA/KKK gaffe in a recent column. Whitlock, instead of quitting while he had only one foot in his mouth, then decided he'd cram the other one right on in there.

"[T]he arming of so many black youths and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don't have our best interests."

It is with this comment that Whitlock ventured in "blame whitey first" land.

Those guns that young black men are using to shoot each other in cities like Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore -- to name only three -- MUST be coming from some insidious, invidious outside force.

And so must the drugs. All this is part of some sinister plan hatched by those that "don't have our best interests" at heart.

Mind you, Whitlock never made clear just who these "people" are, which leaves me free to interpret just who he meant.

The government? Which level? Local? State? Federal?

If it's federal, then doesn't that mean President Obama is one of the "people who obviously don't have our best interests at heart"?

White people? Specifically white racists?

Then that puts Whitlock in the category of a "blame whitey firster." Quiet as it's kept, not all young black men are into drugs, gangs and guns. And black communities aren't the only ones "loaded up" with drugs. Was Whitlock seriously implying that there are no drugs in white neighborhoods, that there are no white drug users?

In just a few days, with one podcast appearance, Whitlock went from being a serious commentator about guns and gun control into being perceived as some kind of nut job addicted to conspiracy theories. (And you have to wonder how Costas feels now, having quoted extensively from a guy that appears to be a "blame whitey firster.")

There's an old adage that goes, "Quit while you're ahead." Here's hoping Whitlock heeds that advice in the future.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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