Two ESPN personalities were picked to coach the annual NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. Along with Rachel Nichols, ESPN’s Katie Nolan was handed the honor even after breaking the network’s rules against controversial political statements on “public-facing” media forums.
On Wednesday, ESPN announced that Nichols and Nolan will coach “Team Clippers” and “Team Lakers” respectively, during the February 16 exhibition.
Nichols tweeted about the game saying she was looking forward to the fun.
Oh, this is gonna be trouble (and so much fun!) I'm coaching one of the teams in the @NBAAllStar Celebrity Game, along with Tracy McGrady and @MichaelBJordan. I'm saying it now…anyone on my team who wants to complain about rotations, talk to the 6-foot-8 guy 😂 pic.twitter.com/vjpKtzVUMh
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 7, 2018
For her part, Nolan simply re-tweeted the NBA’s announcement adding a few fire emoji’s. However, Nolan has had far more powerful things to say on social media, and other forums, where she’s attacked President Trump, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and Republicans.
In January, Nolan attacked President Trump calling him a “f**king stupid person” during an appearance on Viceland’s Desus & Mero late night comedy show. She did this even after the network reiterated that it would not tolerate its employees straying from sports into blatantly controversial political waters.
But, despite clearly violating ESPN’s ban on employees engaging in controversial political talk, the network refused to punish Nolan even as it has taken harsh action against several conservative-minded employees in the recent past.
In 2016, for instance, conservatives such as former Chicago Bears great Mike Ditka was removed from ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, after he said that Barack Obama was the worst president in history.
Nolan’s attack on Trump came less than a year after she went after Fox News host Sean Hannity. Nolan slammed Hannity as a “literal f**king moron” in an April, 2017, tweet. At the time, Nolan worked for Fox Sports 1 and some wondered how she could get away with attacking someone working for her own employers.
Fox Sports 1 also refused to punish Nolan. Yet, Craig James lost his sports hosting job on a regional Fox network, for expressing conservative views. James later filed a lawsuit against Fox Sports for his firing.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.