Videos by OutKick
Monday, I posted a tweet questioning a decision by ESPN to lay off over 20 notable employees while recently re-signing Mark Jones to a salary increase.
The tweet included Jones’ résumé of bigotry, including his most recent bit that includes sharing and liking tweets calling Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a racist.
Over the past year, Jones has:
- Shared a tweet calling his colleague Stephen A. Smith a “coon.”
- Shared multiple tweets telling Rush Limbaugh to “rot in hell” on the day he died of lung cancer.
- Lied about the police murdering a still-very-alive Jacob Blake.
- Lied about Jacob Blake being unarmed.
- Liked nasty tweets about his colleague JJ Redick.
- Baselessly accused stadium police officers of trying to shoot him.
- Connected Aaron Rodgers to QAnon without proof.
- Violated ESPN’s ban on discussing politics.
- Liked tweets calling Queen Elizabeth a vile racist on the day she died.
- Liked tweets mocking Nick Bosa for tearing his ACL.
- Made a “blowjob” reference on-air.
- Discussed “insurrections” during NBA games.
- Called Batman a racist.
- Reposted tweets asserting Ron DeSantis is in the KKK.
- Promoted an inaccurate report that 90% of the NBA media is white.
- Posted disparaging tweets about Nikola Jokić and Luka Doncic (wonder why these two).
- Shared a tweet that white people are trying to appropriate Jesus.
Batman and Lincoln are both racists, huh? Dying from lung cancer is funny, huh?
My tweet garnered quite a reaction, including inside ESPN. Following the tweet, three on-air personalities reached out to OutKick, as well as a talent agent, to express their frustrations that ESPN would retain Jones but dismiss the likes of Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Ashley Brewer, Todd McShay and Max Kellerman.
Jones is not well-liked at ESPN. Most personalities consider him phony. They say he’s bothered by old tweets that challenged his blackness for marrying a white woman and thus tries to overcompensate with overtly anti-white rhetoric online.
The criticism of Jones inside ESPN is consistent with how he is described by OutKick’s Dan Dakich, who used to broadcast with Jones at ESPN.
“Mark Jones is the Ja Morant of broadcasting,” Dakich notes. “They are trying to be something they are not. JA Morant is trying to be a tough thug. Mark Jones is a suburban guy married to a white woman. But he’s to be something he’s not. He sees cat money … but it’s a little bit tough when you live in the suburbs, your kids go to private schools, and you are married to a white woman.”
In one of the more humorous tales, we learned that Mark Jones stood up on stage at an internal college football convention last August and told a crowd of broadcasters while pounding his chest that he “does what he does” because he comes from a different background.
It’s unclear what background one must have to falsely accuse police officers of trying to shoot you, as Jones did.
(By the way, what a weirdo.)
But the frustration with Jones amongst his colleagues lies most notably with a belief that his bigotry saved his job during the talent layoffs. Agents tell OutKick that ESPN was afraid to lay off Jones because of how quickly he’d swipe the race card.
Put simply, the majority-white bosses could not risk laying off a black man who has long grieved — though baselessly — about the so-called racial injustices he faces. Jones is also the only black play-by-play commentator for the NBA, adding to his security.
As one on-air ESPN host said, “If ESPN didn’t fear the race card, the bosses would have fired Mark Jones immediately for calling Stephen A. a ‘coon.'”
Sources tell OutKick that both management and ESPN’s PR team are also sick of Jones’ antics. OutKick asked ESPN for comment, which it did not provide.
Jones frustrated management when he shared disparaging tweets about Nikola Jokić during the NBA Finals, which ESPN and ABC aired.
Specifically, Jones trended for his animated coverage of Jokic, claiming he and his family are products of white supremacy.
We also asked both Jones and his white agent (adding to the case Jones’ anti-white rhetoric is for show) Lou Oppenheim if they had a comment on his tweets about Lincoln. Neither did. Oppenheim, too, is afraid Jones would call him a racist. He’s a coward.
The case of Mark Jones ought to send a message to aspiring broadcasters: one need not be talented, respected, or authentic to work in broadcasting — so long as they have the race card firmly in their back pocket.
Mark Jones does. It’s all he has. It’s all he needs.
Jones is not a racist. He plays a racist. The latter of which is the far graver sin. He’s a fraud. He’s a loser.
Mark Jones would be fired immediately in any form of meritocracy. Yet he continues to work at ESPN while the more talented, less privileged were laid off.