Conservative or liberal, black or white, male or female, there are lines you shouldn’t cross. Yet ESPN’s Mark Jones continues to cross them in a disturbing way.
Wednesday morning, Rush Limbaugh passed away after a battle with lung cancer. Sure, Limbaugh was a controversial figure, but he was also a human being with a life and a family. Agree with his opinions or not, his family, friends, and supporters are grieving today, much like so many families do when they’ve lost a loved one to lung cancer. I’m not telling anyone they should have to pretend to support Limbaugh today, but anyone who is celebrating his death, the death of a stranger, is celebrating the pain of his family. Unsurprisingly, ESPN’s Mark Jones is one of those people.
I sometimes joke around about people at ESPN. I know a lot of them. I’ve covered most of them. I find most to be overly sensitive, insecure, and much too determined to push political points they really know nothing about. But I’m not joking when it comes to Mark Jones. He’s hateful, he’s irrational, and he’s embarrassing for ESPN.
Moments after Limbaugh’s grieving wife announced he had passed, Jones predictably went on Twitter to like nasty tweets about Limbaugh’s death.
No one is telling Jones to agree with Limbaugh on his points about race, gender, and politics — many of which are misrepresented in those tweets — but for that to be Jones’ first move after the man died from cancer is sickening. And this is not a one-time matter for Jones, either. This is repeated behavior.
Jones has been caught liking several tweets mocking people suffering because they don’t agree with him politically. During the football season, Jones enjoyed the tweets that mocked Nick Bosa for tearing his ACL, an injury that threatens his entire NFL career. What did Bosa do to deserve that? He may have voted for former President Donald Trump.
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) February 8, 2021
Don’t move on, think about it. Jones is celebrating a career-threatening injury because of whom the player voted for. That’s not being passionate about politics, that’s hate.
Famously, Mark Jones claimed this year that he would refuse assistance from police, many of whom have protected him and helped him arrive at games safely, because he claims they would want to shoot him. That isn’t just hate, that’s also idiocy.
Here is a photo of the racist police Jones claims might want to shoot him:
S/o to the Syracuse Police Dept who helped me secure the 💼 today. I appreciate y’all. Keep up the great work. Real professionals👏🏾👏🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/RytChETJ6E
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) September 15, 2018
He also called Trump a terrorist:
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 24, 2020
I have never called for a network to fire anyone. The most I’ve said is that certain personalities are failing in the ratings — Bomani Jones, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre — and are taking away opportunities from others who are succeeding. And I’m not calling for ESPN to fire Mark Jones. I’m saying they owe their viewers an explanation. They need to address Jones’ behavior.
I asked ESPN for comment on Jones mocking Limbaugh’s death, but they declined to comment. ESPN may not owe me a comment, but how hard would it be to tell the audience that the network doesn’t support mocking someone dying from cancer, calling police murderers, or poking fun at a player tearing his ACL?
Perhaps ESPN is addressing this internally, though I doubt it. ESPN has been promoting Jones all year for similar actions. The Sacramento Kings even hired Jones after firing Grant Napear for saying “All Lives Matter.” The truth is, sports media rewards those who calls people racist because they are afraid if they don’t, they will be labeled “racist” themselves. The executives at ESPN are not dumb, they are cowards. So are those at Disney who allow this but fire Gina Carano. They are too afraid of the backlash from social media and the New York Times to address Jones’ despicable behavior.
This won’t change. Mark Jones will continue to like disgusting tweets, while ESPN employees with other views remain afraid to even follow accounts of those who see the world differently.