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Pushback On My Katie Nolan And Maria Taylor Columns Are Part Of Patriarchy Vs. Matriarchy Culture War

The feedback on my columns about ESPN broadcasters Katie Nolan and Maria Taylor is growing more interesting and misguided.

NBC sideline reporter Alex Flanagan said my persistent media criticism is a “sexist” and “shocking” shtick. Former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson chastised me over Twitter for failing to respect women, “especially our women.” Here’s Watson’s tweet. 

Tuesday, Flanagan posted a column on her personal website reliving a couple of tweets I posted criticizing her work as an NFL sideline reporter in 2011 and 2012. Here’s a link to her column. Former MSNBC political firebrand and ESPN legend Keith Olbermann tweeted support of Flanagan’s narrative that my criticism is driven by sexism.

Here’s Olbermann’s tweet.  He ends by saying that “@whitlockjason remains a misogynist fool.” Olbermann apparently has no recollection of Suzy Kolber’s account of what it was like to work alongside him. Olbermann’s alleged abuse was chronicled in the classic ESPN book “Those Guys Have All The Fun.” Olbermann’s defense was that Kolber matched his level of toxicity. Here’s an old Deadspin piece that will get you up to date on warm-and-fuzzy Olbermann. 

I digress. Let’s return to Alex Flanagan. 

I don’t blame her for being angry with me. In 2012, after I criticized her work a second time via Twitter, she tweeted an invitation to meet and discuss her work. 

Here’s the tweet. I missed it in 2012. In the column she wrote Tuesday, she justifiably complained that I ignored her invitation, writing:

“I invited Whitlock to come on the sidelines with me for a game so he could suggest questions. I also asked him to have a cup of coffee with me so he might get to know me, face to face, before ripping me in public forums. He never responded.” 

This is a bad look on my part. Flanagan handled my criticism like a grown-ass woman, head-on with integrity. I missed it. My bad. 

Tuesday night, I refreshed my memory on why I criticized Flanagan. I rewatched the end of the 2011 Seahawks-Saints playoff game that Flanagan worked. She conducted the postgame interview with Seattle coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. 

Seattle won a thrilling game. Marshawn Lynch iced the game with an incredible “Beast Quake” run for the end zone. Flanagan blew the postgame interview. It was terrible. She never asked Carroll or Hasselbeck about Lynch’s game-deciding run. 

She asked Carroll two questions: 1) What’s your emotion? 2) Really?

She asked Hasselbeck two questions: 1) Did you expect to win the game? 2) How big of an upset is this?

The entire game and postgame interview are available on YouTube. Here’s a link. Normally postgame interviews don’t matter. But this game ended so dramatically that fans wanted to hear Carroll and Hasselbeck react to Lynch’s heroics.

Flanagan’s column repeats my two critical tweets about her postgame performance. 

“Alex Flanagan has no clue what she just watched. NBC knows that. They pay a producer to explain to her. Producer should be fired. Period.”

“Fire Alex Flanagan’s sideline producer. Sideline Barbie didn’t ask Hasselbeck or Carroll about the whole team going downfield to block on “Hit & Run.” 

At the time, I did not know Lynch’s run would be called “Beast Quake.” I called it “Hit & Run.” Then-NBC color commentator Mike Mayock marveled at the fact that Seattle’s entire offensive unit ran downfield and threw critical blocks that allowed Lynch to score. The Seahawks were a 7-9 team with no business in the playoffs. It took a remarkable team effort to beat the heavily-favored Saints. 

Here’s the deal. I’m a critic. Have been for 25 years. I criticize everybody, including myself. I’m not politically correct when it comes to criticism. I’m bluntly honest. I criticize the media. Ask Scoop Jackson or Mike Lupica. Ask Mitch Albom. When I worked in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the early 1990s, I ripped Albom’s Fab Five book.

Stephen A. Smith hasn’t spoken to me since the 2012 column I wrote blasting him for twice using the n-word on ESPN. I like Stephen A. I consider Mike Wilbon one of the great sports journalists of my lifetime. I consider him a friend and mentor. I wrote an entire column criticizing a piece Mike wrote for the Washington Post about Ball State University and John Thompson’s son Ronny Thompson. 

Does anyone remember my takedown of Joe Posnanski and his awful Joe Paterno book? Posnanski was the Katie Nolan of sports writing. I torched him and his work. We previously worked together at the Kansas City Star.

I wrote a couple of tweets about Alex Flanagan. Tweets. Not columns. Tweets. 

Maria Taylor? How much more praise can I lather on her? I called her a unicorn. I expressed concern that she might undermine her career by pandering to Twitter in the same fashion as Michelle Beadle and Jemele Hill. 

Katie Nolan? I treated her the same way I treated Joe Posnanski. She’s far less accomplished and credible than JoPo.  

Over Twitter, someone accused me of using my platform to tear down women. Really? I’ve tweeted more than 50,000 times since 2009. What percentage of those tweets have anything to do with women? What percentage of those tweets are critical of women? 

I’ll guarantee you it’s less than 1 percent. 

You know the woman I’ve criticized the most over Twitter? Sarah Palin. No one cared. I couldn’t stand Palin when she ran for the vice presidency and was a political pundit. Anytime someone tweeted me something I considered stupid, I responded by calling them a “Palinite.” This went on for several years. I wrote a column for the Huffington Post shredding Palin. No one cared. No one called me sexist. Deadspin didn’t use my criticism of Palin as proof of my rampant misogyny. 

There’s a certain species of women who can’t be criticized publicly. Palin isn’t part of that group. What’s different about her? Oh, she’s not a feminist icon. She’s not liberal.  This whole push for a criticism-free safe space for women is about protecting woke women. It’s part of the culture war to disrupt the patriarchy with a liberal matriarchy. 

Serena Williams? She’s untouchable. My critics are still mad about a column I wrote a decade ago saying that Williams was blubbery and needed to drop weight to reach her full potential. I’d say the same thing about myself and have. I’ve certainly said the same of male athletes. I criticized Williams for Crip-walking at the 2012 Olympics. My critics are still pissed about that.  

I believe in equality and try to practice it. In my world, women don’t live in some protected space where it’s illegal and immoral to criticize them. I criticize men on a daily basis. I occasionally criticize women. 

I’m not going to pretend that ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports and CBS Sports do not intentionally hire beautiful women to ask coaches and athletes inconsequential questions along the sideline. They apply the beauty standard, not me. They invented Sideline Barbie, not me.

I’m the bad guy because I don’t ignore what’s obvious to everyone. Flanagan needs the support of a strong producer to do her job at a high level. Same was true for me when I worked as a television host. Producers helped me formulate questions for guests. 

Tuesday night, I watched the Nuggets beat the Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Throughout the game, TNT broadcasters Chris Webber and Reggie Miller trended over Twitter. Much of the conversation was critical of their work. 

Criticism is the background music of success and performing in a high-profile profession. Criticism goes along with the equality women say they want.

You can’t whine about sexism every time someone tweets something negative about your performance. It’s a tweet. It’s not COVID. It won’t kill you. 

I apologize for not responding to Alex Flanagan’s authentic outreach eight years ago. She made an attempt to handle the criticism like a professional, like someone woman enough for the responsibility.

I don’t apologize for the content of the tweets. I don’t apologize for criticizing women. That’s a privilege I won’t grant them. It’s a privilege I don’t enjoy or give to men. 

Why should women have it?

If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact gary@outkick.com.

Written by Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock is a longtime sports writer, TV personality, radio host, podcaster and the newest member of the Outkick family.
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37 Comments

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  1. Great article Jason, awesome way to own that you didn’t respond to Alex Flanagan and why. I respect you for putting out honest criticism and respect you more for standing tall when they try to gang up on you to stay quiet. Keep it going man, we know a real deal when we see one. All the best!

  2. Jason, well stated as always. Reporters can criticize men all day long, everyday. Reporters can mock a man’s appearance, a man’s character, a man’s integrity, and a man’s intelligence.There is nothing but crickets when a man is criticized……But if ten years ago you criticized a liberal female over a very specific game about a very specific game scenario in which her job performance deserved it, then the woke crowd will seek out those tweets from a decade ago and label you sexist (even when those comments tame in comparison to criticism men receive on a daily basis. I am no fan of Lebron, but he gets a hell of a lot worse things said about him than “sideline barbie”. To compare the vitriol that comes Lebron’s way and the way of a lot of other men to a comment like sideline barbie is just a joke. Daily on sports radio male athletes get the size of a certain part of their anatomy questioned. The woke communities hypocrisy is shameless and simply amazing)

  3. It is so refreshing to read a simple, honest, and unbiased sports piece with actual quotes and examples in full context.

    But the way this is going, someone (probably Jemele Hill…no relation) will accuse Whitlock of using White privilege in Black face. lol

  4. I’m sorry to say, but when she first hit the sports scene, I watched some of her show, and then, went to another channel. My first thought was, Who did she screw to get this show? (And is there anyway to replace her with Jenny Dell?)

  5. @Whitlock – I’m not on twitter, but have you ever hammered Holly Rowe for her work? I love her on the sideline and she wouldn’t meet the Barbie standard. If you have, does that make you sexist (hint – the answer is no).

  6. Jason, you hit on something with Palin. She was absolutely brutalized in the press during her VP run with McCain. Obama could have run along a female VP candidate with no IQ and she would been a hero. You criticized Palin with no pushback. When you criticized Serena retaliation came. Conservative women in general are fair game, and liberal women are off limits. You keep being you. Outkick VIPs have your back.

  7. If you are on the opposite side of Keith Olbermann you know that you are doing something right. Have to say I am pretty disappointed with Benjamin Watson, what does he mean by “our women” anyways? Sounds like a pretty racist statement to me.

    • Yes there is something highly ironic in the sense that he doesn’t want Whitlock to criticize “our women”, but is he out there advocating for “our men” to stop abandoning “our women” and children? Seems like women in media making good money don’t need nearly the advocacy as millions of single moms barely making it!

  8. True equality means treating people the same across the board, regardless of race or gender. That includes the guts to make the same criticism (or praise) to all. Pulling punches that would not otherwise be pulled based on someone’s sex is, by definition, sexist. Jason is doing the opposite. To the contrary, the men assuming that these strong ladies need their blanket protection based solely on their sex is itself sexist. That stance perpetuates the stereotype that these ladies can’t stand up for themselves. That archaic view is exactly the opposite of what feminists are fighting for.

  9. Terrific response, Jason.
    And everyone you’re addressing understands, but they would never acknowledge it.
    With all the different “privilege” cards available these days, it reminds me of George Costanza in the diner booth trying to explain his exploding wallet to Jerry Seinfeld.

  10. I agree with a previous sentiment, Jason isn’t always perfect but he’s damn good and entertaining. I enjoy Jason’s columns so much I went ahead and signed up for VIP just to support the great work Jason, Clay, and others on this site produce. Certainly didn’t sign-up for Clay’s SEC gambling picks, :). My state doesn’t allow gambling yet, but I’m a big football fan, so I do enjoy following how well Clay does with his picks.

  11. Casually alleging that someone, of whom one has no personal knowledge, obtained their current employment/position predominately because they are white has becoming perfectly acceptable blue check mark behavior.

    Alleging that someone, of whom many people have extensive experience, obtained their job because they are white AND pretty – clearly, 100% outrageous. Yeah…we’re all about equality these days 🙄

  12. JW, first and foremost, may god continue to bless your heart, soul and mind. This is the first social forum I have ever joined. No face book, twitter or Instagram—-nothing for me or my family. Just have to show support and get a few points out, here it goes.
    —For everyone saying just stick to sports, if you haven’t noticed, politics and sports are one in the same. CK and LJ and the rest of the Bigot Marxist movement you can thank. Sports as we have known it is gone…forever. Sports will never be the same, outkick know this. Millions of people are leaving and like everything the far left touches, it ruins. If kneeling wasn’t bad enough they (nba, nfl, mlb) actually have one upped them selves and have backed an organization hell bent of the destruction of our country, good luck with that business model.
    —-If BLM and blm are different, I will wait patiently for any supporter of the blm to come out and clarify, not happening (fingers tapping the table). I would never expect LJ or anyone other racist to do it but it pains me to see someone like a Steph Curry be silent when I would bet anything he tells his kids most white people are not racist and most police are good people that we should support but doesn’t have the courage to say it in public.
    —I grew up with basketball in my veins. The warriors were my team. I go back to Big Cliff, Sleepy, WBF and run TMC. I literally used my vacation time from work to get home early so I could watch the warriors play back east in Don Nelson’s last year when it was Steph, Monty and a bunch of D leaguers, they were so much fun to watch. No one was happier after their first title. Then what happens, Trump wins and all of the sudden CSN Bay Area beat writer, Monty Poole, writes a column saying all Trump supporters are racist. Damn, he doesn’t even know me. Kerr and the rest of the team follows suit. I have not watched a basketball game in since.
    —I am not a fan of long posts but this might be my only one. I apologize. As to this battle you are currently in, as a long time EIB listener I can vouch for you that at times in the past 20 years the man behind the golden mic has been in agreement with your views and completely disagreed. Smoke blows in all directions with you. Anyone thinks otherwise, doesn’t know you.
    –Since horseracing is the only thing I follow anymore, if you ever need a horseracing journalist at outkick, let me know, I came in second place in a sports journalist contest in high school!
    –If this misses, my bad. Casa Amigos is the best. I could have sworn I herd you and MW talking about it. Tried it, now as common in my house as cereal. Speaking of your former host, he has a fan for life, me. He was one of the first to come out with the courage in public to say most police are good people. God Bless him that.
    God Bless you too. Best of luck with you and Outkick.

  13. This manufactured outrage is nothing but woke theater, and we’ve all seen this play before. We’ll get an encore performance next week when Trump names a Supreme Court nominee. And then it will be something else. Then something else. Almost all of it will somehow be linked to racism or sexism. These woke playwrights keep rewriting the same script, changing a few characters, then handing it out to the media mouthpieces. Listen close…you’ll hear the same stale lines being uttered (or tweeted), almost word for word.

  14. Nothing pumps me up more than someone going scorched earth on someone or something, especially the media. Facts are undeniable. As regular as John Elway victimizing KC back in the day, you nailed it on the head again. Keep on Jason!

  15. Cardi B can admit to drugging and robbing men, and the woke community holds her up as a role model fit to interview their presidential nominee….Whitlock’s columns basically say that Maria Taylor is far more talented than Katie Nolan, and show (to me and I am sure other people who are paying attention), that racist-woke-white-liberals are promoting the very racism and sexism they claim to be fighting. But while Cardi B gets propped up as a hero, the wokes search for decade old tweets to prove Whitlock’s a sexist. The woke’s hypocrisy is too much. It’s beyond words. As others have said, we are living in the twilight zone……. (Jason, I watched that interview by Alex Flanagan. Maria Taylor would never look that ridiculous. Doris Burke would never look that ridiculous. Erin Andrews would never look that ridiculous. Countless other reporters, male and female, would never look that ridiculous. Despite this, you are not allowed to criticize a liberal-white-female who may have taken a job away from someone more deserving. I’m at a loss for words. The wokes continue to prove just how hypocritical and ridiculous they are)

  16. Some people can’t handle the truth. I have read and watched you for years and you have always been a critic of anyone that deserves criticism. There are plenty of awful reporters to choose from every day- men and women.

    Just so I understand the rules in this woke new world;
    1. believe all women (unless they accuse a liberal- see Tara Reid/Joe Biden)
    2. never criticize any women (except conservative women).

    Does anyone see a trend here?

  17. Great article, but I disagree that you should respond to someone just because they want you to. You don’t need to get to know someone because you criticized them. The best unbiased reporters – the few that actually report anymore – are the ones that are separated from teams and aren’t jock sniffers.

  18. Hello, Jason, I have seen you comment in these threads before so I hope you see this:

    I noticed you mentioned Nick Wright a couple times on Fearless. I happened to be driving for just a few minutes and the Beatles channel was playing some work in progress version of She’s So Heavy, so i switched to Mad Dog. And it was Nick Wright’s show, and of all of the bizarre random times to turn to it he out of nowhere mentions you! And I literally an hour or 2 before watched one of your Fearless Podcasts where you mentioned him a couple times.

    He went in on you pretty good. Said your recent column was “vile” and didnt even want say your name! Then he acted rather disgusted and mocking of America that you of all people (my interpretation of his rhetoric) were going before Congress. Did yall work together in KC? Enjoy uour columns and dont like hi much so was laughing when you made sure to throw him in with the rest of your woke list😆

  19. Dear Jason The feminists are going out of there minds .You’ve traumatized them you have sinned the great sin by pointing out that Man watch sports and man love to look at beautiful woman. Maria Taylor is a good looking woman sorry I’d watch her no matter what she ask . I’m A MAN . Katie Nolan she is not good at asking question but she is good looking woman .Jason I’M 67 years old been watching football for a lot of years. Side line reporter is a politically correct job created for woman to satisfy the Feminist .And now a days there all Snowflakes the can stand any criticisms .You got in there safe Space
    Jason remember to thine own be true

  20. I wonder how many “African” Americans can name three African countries? Do they know Nigeria has 206 Million people — making it the world’s seventh largest country — and it’s growing at more than 4x the rate of the U.S.? Africa is huge but desperately poor and unhealthy. Combine the population of just three African countries — Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa — and you’ve got more people than the US. Life expectancy is 61 for men, 65 for women (both are lowest in the world). Disease is rampant, especially HIV. My point — if you call yourself African — know something about Africa.

  21. Keith Olbermann is gross, and never got ratings. These women have been trained in victimhood 101. Their rhetoric escalates the situation, and pins them to a cross in no time. Also, their ego’s are so fragile, since they spend their lives beyond reproach, they fold without the backing of their Twitter mob. They don’t want equality, they want privilege.

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