ESPN on-air talents sure have a lot of respect for the network's policies on politics and social media -- not! Recent hire Katie Nolan just hit President Trump with an F-bomb, and ESPN let her off without any punishment for her transgression. The Sporting News and USA Today Sports excused her disrespectful behavior away as just "having fun."
Last week Nolan appeared on Viceland with comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero. They told Nolan that President Trump's hand gestures could be associated with white supremacists and his frequent thumbs-up refers to "white power."
Nolan responded with a remark that was bleeped out. Then she added "That's because he's a f------ stupid person."
No problem though. Nolan was laughing when she said it and the comment is a joking matter. The Sporting News' Michael McCarthy wrote:
"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."
McCarthy says ESPN lured Nolan away from the late night Fox Sports 1 Garbage Time sports and comedy show because "she has a reputation as a smart, funny, sometimes foul-mouthed opinionist." So if a media person establishes a reputation for being foul-mouthed that excuses bad behavior. So does "clearly having fun."
USA Today Sports, which has directed a lot of criticism toward President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, made light of Nolan's vulgarity in the headline, "Katie Nolan jokingly calls President Trump stupid on Desus & Mero."
On Friday, ESPN indicated displeasure with Nolan in a statement saying: “We have looked into the totality of Nolan’s comments, they were inappropriate and we have addressed it with her.” McCarthy referenced unnamed sources at ESPN who preferred Nolan had not gone on the Viceland program. That "we addressed it" routine is becoming common when a Republican is the victim of inappropriate remarks by ESPN personalities.
ESPN's social media guidelines require employees to "refrain from overt partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates, politicians or political parties" while avoiding "personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric." McCarthy excused Nolan's behavior away because she didn't curse the president 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," he wrote.
That brass in Bristol is pretty good at giving ESPN's loose cannons passes. Last year Sports Center's Jemele Hill got one for calling President Trump and his supporters "white supremacists." Later she was suspended for suggesting advertising sponsors boycott the Dallas Cowboys because their owner, Jerry Jones, suggested any players who knelt during the national anthem would be benched.
Whatever ESPN addressed with Nolan did not include a suspension. Yesterday she was on Twitter co-hosting ESPN's NFL pregame show "Wild Card Live."
Last fall, a totally different Nolan appeared reverently in a church scene while hosting the NFL Films broadcast of "Touchdown in Israel," aired by NBC.