Katie Nolan is Karen, the epitome of white privilege masked by woke posturing and protected by the white and black media elites allegedly dedicated to ending white privilege.
Katie Nolan’s television career and the protected space she’s occupied within the industry for eight years expose the fraudulence of the social justice warriors ruling the mainstream sports media and blogosphere.
Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Dan Le Batard, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, Shannon Sharpe, Nick Wright and countless others love to bloviate about the white privilege, racism, sexism, homophobism, trans-race-sex-phobism of people hundreds and thousands of miles away from their television or podcast studios.
They won’t utter a word about the person right next to them, even if that person embodies the very thing they say they’re fighting to end.
Karen Nolan and the people allegedly fighting to end white privilege are the people who actually support the system that maintains white privilege.
I gotta hand it to them. These damn liberals are brilliant. Whatever they truly support they publicly claim they despise.
Sunday, I wrote a column advising ESPN’s super-talented Maria Taylor to avoid making the Twitter-inspired mistake that undermined Michelle Beadle’s and Jemele Hill’s promising careers. Avoid wallowing in victimhood and don’t allow social media to convince you that sports fans are stupid and racist. Within the column I referenced “beauty privilege” and pointed out that Nolan had ridden that privilege to a 7-figure salary and a Sports Emmy Award despite a paper-thin resume and even less on-camera ability.
It was a passing observation, not the focus of my column. Nolan took offense. She tweeted a response to my remark:
“You’re this close to making an actual point about the expectation of women to not only be good at their job but also beautiful, but actual points don’t pay the bills huh. Keep this same energy next time I see you though.”
Her response is weak. I should probably let it go. I’m punching down. But I can’t help it.
Nolan epitomizes everything I find fraudulent about this era of sports journalism, this era of corporate politics. Narrative has eliminated facts and any semblance of a meritocracy.
She’s cast herself as a victim when she’s the most pampered and protected person in sports media. In an industry that values live television, she can’t do live TV. She’s not the next Hannah Storm, Linda Cohn, Michelle Beadle, Robin Roberts, Sage Steele or Maria Taylor — broadcasters with the rare and valuable skill of being engaging and personable in front of a red light.
Nolan is adequate at reading the words of other writers on tape. She’s paid more than a million dollars for work that would earn virtually every other man or woman with her resume $50,000. She’s not a journalist, like Mina Kimes. She’s not informed, prepared and knowledgeable, like Doris Burke. Nolan is adept at working the grievance system.
She’s a flaming example of how the business world has been forced to mirror academia. Executives huddle in their corner offices and mandate the outcomes they desire. Seven years ago, a Fox Sports executive, Pete Vlastelica, decided Karen Nolan would be a sports television star. He talked his friends in the blogosphere into joining his campaign to tout the then-26-year-old Nolan as the future of sports television.
Awful Announcing treated Nolan like she was Lil Oprah Winfrey. Eventually Richard Deitsch and Sports Illustrated jumped on board, and then the rest of the media followed in.
The next thing you know, Fox Sports and ESPN are in a holy war to secure the long-term services of a TV personality who raised hell and cried every time she was tasked with doing live television, a personality with a niche audience barely big enough to fill a Southwest Airlines flight to Bugtussle.
For a solid year, blogs and mainstream outlets repeatedly blasted Fox Sports for failing to turn Karen Nolan into Chris Berman.
In 2015, with no supporting evidence, The Atlantic hailed Nolan as the future of sports television. At the time, she was doing a show appropriately named “Garbage Time” that drew 40,000 viewers. It was a 22-minute show that took Karen and her staff a full week to prepare. Her highlight moment was her brave and incisive commentary calling former Cowboy pass-rusher Greg Hardy a “garbage human being.”
Yeah, the entire world had already criticized Hardy and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, but when Nolan read the words “garbage human being” that someone wrote in her teleprompter, well, the conversation about domestic violence went to the next level.
GQ Magazine fell in love with writing about Nolan. In 2016, GQ hired Drew Magary to write a fawning piece about Karen centered on her dumping on her alleged friend and peer Julie Stewart-Binks for accepting a faux lap dance from Rob Gronkowski. Two years later, GQ followed up with a long profile piece on Nolan focused on her arrival at ESPN.
No one in sports media — not Stephen A. Smith, not Colin Cowherd, not Rachel Nichols, not Scott Van Pelt, not Kirk Herbstreit, not Skip Bayless, not Erin Andrews — has had more fawning words written about them than Katie Nolan.
It’s white hot privilege. You punch her name into Google and you could spend the next month reading everything you need to know about a TV personality without a single legitimate accomplishment. Oh, that’s right she accepted an Emmy Award for Outstanding Social TV Experience.
It’s really the Outstanding Social Media rigjob.
Social media is the driver of false narratives. Nolan is one of the best examples. She’s White Lives Matter. Over Twitter and Instagram, everyone pretends she’s rip-roaring funny and talented. We pretend she’s a victim of a sexist, male-dominated industry. If you question the narrative, you’re labeled as sexist.
Nolan is Michael Brown, hands up don’t shoot. We all know it’s a lie but we continue with the facade because it’s not worth the backlash.
She was lazy and spoiled at Fox Sports. She’s lazy and spoiled at ESPN. Her most consistent skill is complaining about a lack of support and using smitten writers to advance the narrative that she is mistreated.
The entire sports media industry — white and black — has pandered in celebration of Karen Nolan’s white life. But these are the people determined to end white privilege?
It’s laughable. Hill, Jones, Le Batard, Sharpe, Wright, Spain, Torre, Deitsch and all the rest fight to keep power in the hands of the white liberal executives who will sit in their glassed offices and determine outcomes that favor their puppets.
Hill, Jones, Le Batard and Co., are no different from Nolan. They don’t want to compete in a meritocracy.
If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.