Katie Nolan is new to ESPN but she was quick to get into the overarching theme of the network’s top personalities, which is to be as anti-President Donald Trump as possible.
The former host of FS1’s “Garbage Time” made an appearance on Viceland’s late-night show, “Desus & Mero,” on Wednesday where the hosts were ridiculously saying that giving an OK hand signal or a thumbs up are both symbols of white power. Their reasoning on the latter was that because President Trump often uses the thumbs up it is now a symbol of white power.
That is when Nolan chimed in to add to the insanity.
“That’s because he’s a ****,” she said. “Back it up. Back it up. That’s because he is a f**king stupid person.”
And despite ESPN’s own, new rules, the network has decided not to discipline Nolan.
“We have looked into the totality of Nolan’s comments, they were inappropriate and we have addressed it with her,” a representative for the sports network told celebrity gossip website TMZ.
But the network’s new guidelines specifically bar precisely what Nolan did.
Commentaries on relevant sports-related issues are appropriate, but we should refrain from overt partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates, politicians or political parties.
The presentation should be thoughtful and respectful. We should offer balance or recognize opposing views, as warranted. We should avoid personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.
Communication with producers and editors must take place prior to commentary on any political or social issues to manage volume and ensure a fair and effective presentation.
If the network thought that not suspending Nolan would endear them to their social justice warrior base, it is mistaken.
That is because ESPN did suspend black host Jemele Hill after she called President Trump a white supremacist and then, a month later, said that fans should boycott the Dallas Cowboys after the team’s owner, Jerry Jones, said he would bench players who “disrespect the flag,” by kneeling or sitting during the National ANthem.
“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” she tweeted at the time. “If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision,” ESPN said in a statement.
On Thursday, The Sporting News defended Nolan and suggested that her comments were not the same as Hill’s.
There’s a difference between someone criticizing the president in a dead serious tone and someone joking around on a late night comedy show. And the Emmy-winning Nolan, who joined ESPN from rival Fox Sports three months ago, was clearly having fun.– During the same bit, she joked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is probably “not that bright” and that she’s on a lot of “meds” for a head cold.
She has a reputation as a smart, funny, sometimes foul-mouthed opinionist, which is one reason ESPN lured her away from Fox Sports and her late night “Garbage Time” show on FS1.
ESPN declined to comment to Sporting News about Nolan, but is known to handle controversial situations on a case-by-case basis…
But Nolan’s comments don’t technically violate the social media guidelines since they were not delivered on social media. And given the late night comedy setting and the irreverent nature of her entire appearance, the sense is the brass in Bristol will give her a pass.