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Jason Whitlock, Katie Nolan Feud Escalates With New Column

“Whether Nolan responds remains to be seen.”

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Jason Whitlock did not mince words in his column today for Outkick.com. Over the weekend, he penned a piece saying Maria Taylor owed her standing at ESPN to physical beauty. In that piece, Whitlock called Nolan out for also benefitting from physical beauty, saying that it transformed Nolan “from bartender to seven-figure personality, Emmy Award-winner and the darling of aroused bloggers and TV critics willing to ignore her pedestrian humor and inability to execute live television.”

Nolan came out swinging on Twitter. She said that Whitlock came “*this close* to making an actual point” and insinuated this is not anything Whitlock would be brave enough to say to her face.

Whitlock fired back on Monday morning with a column for Outkick that squarely targeted Nolan. In it, he calls her “the epitome of white privilege.” He also calls out several of his former colleagues and friends at ESPN and FOX for allowing people like Nolan to thrive in the sports media.

“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.”

Whitlock writes that by tweeting a response to his column, Katie Nolan “cast herself as a victim when she’s the most pampered and protected person in sports media.”

That assertion related to Nolan’s tweet can be debated, but the ESPN personality was much more in attack mode and has since locked her Twitter account. Fans cannot retweet or embed her content, which is something Outkick made its own story.

Whitlock tied Nolan to another of his favorite targets, the Black Lives Matter movement. He compared her success to the phrase “hands up don’t shoot.” It was shouted by protestors in Ferguson, Missouri in reference to Michael Brown being shot by police in 2014.

“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.”

In 2015, the DOJ noted that no one ever heard Brown say the words “don’t shoot” nor did any witness to his killing ever say he had his hands up.

Whether Nolan responds remains to be seen. Given her history on Twitter and willingness to clap back at critics, it’s easy to imagine her having some sort of answer to Whitlock calling her “lazy and spoiled” and saying that she and other ESPN personalities “don’t want to compete in a meritocracy.”

Sports TV News

NBC Testing Nielsen Competitor for Super Bowl, Olympics

“NBCU is hoping a successful test leads to switching to iSpot.tv’s data going forward.”

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Networks have been unhappy with Nielsen for a while now, a recent issue involving Nielsen admitting to erroneously underreporting viewership numbers has not helped matters.

Most networks, however, have stuck with them due to Nielsen’s hold on the ad sales industry for decades.  NBCUniversal has decided to explore other options, going so far as to plan an upcoming test with an upstart Nielsen competitor during two of the biggest events in television: the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

According to a Los Angeles Times report from Stephen Battaglio, NBCUniversal will use data from iSpot.tv to provide viewing information on the two major events next month. Publicis Media, which owns several major ad-buying companies, has agreed to participate in the test with several of its clients.

NBCUniversal remains a client of Nielsen and will continue to use its ratings for the events. But the test with iSpot.tv — which has a multi-year deal to provide its services to NBCU — will be the most high-profile effort to promote a viable competitor to Nielsen.

The Times report states that this is more than just a bluff, as NBCU is hoping a successful test leads to switching to iSpot.tv’s data going forward. That would certainly mark a major shift, and it’s all tied back to NBC and other networks being dissatisfied with how Nielsen calculates non-traditional viewing. Considering that’s a growing portion of viewership, especially in key demographics, and that it’s only going to be more important going forward.

Obviously, the Super Bowl will pull numbers regardless, on traditional and non-traditional platforms. But NBC pays billions for the Olympics, and this move seems intended at finding more satisfactory tracking data it can present to advertisers.

But NBCU executives are of the mind that consumers have been watching more due to the variety of streaming options.  The network is hoping the data from iSpot.tv will confirm their assumption.

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Sports TV News

Nabil Karim To Cover NHL and NBA For Turner

“Karim makes his debut Friday night on NBA TV.”

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Turner Sports and Nabil Karim have agreed on a multi-year deal. Karim will serve as a studio host and reporter for basketball and hockey programming.  An official announcement is expected later today.

Karim makes his debut Friday night on NBA TV. Most recently with ESPN, the British Columbia native was at TSN from 2011-2019, hosting a well-rounded suite of premier events.

He joined The Kyle Koster Show to talk about his new role, what he’s most excited about, and his career journey to this point.

“I think about broadcasters, and I wonder how many of them, their favorite two sports are hockey and basketball,” Nabil Karim said. “Being a Canadian, growing up with hockey, that was 1a and 1b for me. When Turner acquired NHL and this opportunity came up to work in hockey and basketball, it was a no-brainer.”

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Sports TV News

Pete Thamel Joins ESPN as College Football Insider

“Richard Deitsch of The Athletic notes that Thamel will become a “major” part of College GameDay.”

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Just like the NFL, the news rarely stops in college football these days. That is why ESPN is hiring someone to cover the sport the way Adam Schefter covers the NFL. That someone will be Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.

Andrew Marchand reported Wednesday night that Thamel is expected to join ESPN in a insider role covering college football.

ESPN already has three reporters that it classifies as “college football insiders.” Those are Heather Dinich, Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach. Thamel appears set to become the face of that operation though.

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic notes that Thamel will become a “major” part of College GameDay.

Thamel’s hire continues something of a trend for ESPN. Marchand points out that whenever the network is in the market for an insider to cover a sport, it tends to go shopping at Yahoo!. Pete Thamel joins Adrian Wojnarowski and Jeff Passan as insiders that left the site for Bristol.

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