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Jason Whitlock’s Correct Katie Nolan Take Sparks Outrage

Jason Whitlock’s Correct Katie Nolan Take Sparks Outrage

Jason Whitlock can be a controversial sportswriter. Over the years he has done work for ESPN, AOL, Fox Sports and now Clay Travis’ Outkick.com. Sometimes he pens interesting and compelling work. Other times he blatantly trolls in an irritating way that has become all too common online these days.

On Monday, Whitlock sparked outrage on Twitter when he published a column entitled “KATIE NOLAN REPRESENTS THE ELIMINATION OF AMERICA’S MERITOCRACY AND EXPOSES THE FRAUDULENCE OF HER SUPPORTERS.”

The long and short of his beef with Nolan is that she took issue with an article he wrote this weekend about the Maria Taylor Saga, and so he responded by essentially telling the truth about her.

Jason Whitlock’s Correct Katie Nolan Take Sparks Outrage 1

Whitlock pointed out that over the last few years Nolan has become immensely rich and famous in the sports media world despite doing absolutely nothing of note. She has participated in failed show after failed show, yet somehow there was a bidding war for her services between ESPN and Fox Sports.

When she finally landed at ESPN on a seven-figure deal, she did nothing of interest there either.

Currently she hosts a podcast or a Snapchat show or something for them. The fact that nobody quite knows which one it is speaks to how little she is actually known for doing real work.

And yet she is beloved on Twitter. Nobody is wondering why she is taking up a spot-slash-salary in sports media that could easily be filled by another woman or person of color who, you know, actually does something.

Whitlock attributed Nolan’s befuddling prominence in sports media to “white privilege.”

“It’s white hot privilege,” he wrote.

“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.”

Whether white privilege is or isn’t the root cause of Nolan being where she is today is debatable, but his general point is correct. She has done nothing  in sports media to be placed on the pedestal on which she currently resides, or command the paycheck she currently receives.

The backlash to Whitlock’s accurate assessment of her only reinforces his point.

“Social media is the driver of false narratives,” Whitlock wrote.

“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 seems like a reasonably nice and funny person, if you don’t get on her bad side. She gives off the vibe that she would be cool to hang out with. But again, she got a seven-figure offer from ESPN for no reason whatsoever.

Love him or hate him, Whitlock is not wrong for pointing that out. And bashing him on Twitter, where he gets bashed daily anyway, doesn’t make his assessment of the situation any less accurate.

Related: Clippers Players Questioned Doc Rivers’ Coaching

Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

2 Comments

  1. To steal a quote from the great Jalen Rose, “You never get what you deserve, only what you have the power to negotiate.”

    Who is he, or any of us, to question her validity as a sports commenter based on appearance or gender? One could go back to many of the stops Whitlock has had, and I’m sure there was some writer out there saying “He only got the KC Star/ESPN/FS1 job because he’s black” or “because he played a little college football.”

    Fair, whether it’s good or bad, usually has little to do with how far someone climbs. Just congratulate them, and work on your own craft.

  2. Of course this has become a Twitter war and the usual suspects have weighed in reflexively in the expected ways. It’s what happens whenever legitimate questions are raised as to whether someone is appropriate for a particular job and/or whether people in an industry that demands a huge time commitment to do it well have the expertise to comment on the nuance of social issues on which they tend to be woefully under-informed.

    Gottlieb’s criticism of Taylor, which started this whole fiasco, is legitimate in that her characterization of her blunder as a mistake or an oversight is tantamount to an admission that she performed that job badly and so the question of whether she should have that job is one that can certainly be asked. All of her reasons as to why she has that vote are reasons why she should never haver made that mistake. Unfortunately, that legitimate question gets lost in the ensuing cries of racism, sexism and misogny.

    Maybe Whitlock should not have dragged Nolan into the fray, but his point is well made. Nolan was an up-and-comer and got the big deal to move to ESPN. If she were any good at anything at all, ESPN would have her doing it in a way that would make her a household name in order to justify what they are paying her. As such, it seems that, while she does have an engaging personality in her scripted, niche shows, she lacks what is needed to succeed on the big stage.

    Sadly, these conversation are not able to be had in our climate of Twitter and TikTok and the knee jerk ‘-ism’ defense.

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