Fox Sports host Katie Nolan on Tuesday said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s botched handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident reflects a larger issue regarding how women are treated in sports media. Nolan questioned how she could be expected to support a league that waited several months to indefinitely suspend Rice for knocking his then-fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
The outspoken host expressed frustration with the fact that Goodell did not act decisively against Rice until previously unseen surveillance footage of the violent incident was made public on Monday. “How do I support a commissioner who needed to see a video of a man punching a woman in the face in order to realize that it’s unacceptable?” she said.
For Nolan, the NFL’s hesitance to confront its domestic violence issue stems from a lack of respect that female broadcasters and sports personalities are given in the sports media world. Without the media to hold them accountable, the NFL feels no pressure to act, she said.
“Women in sports television are allowed to read headlines, patrols sidelines and generally facilitate conversation for their male colleagues. Sometimes, they even let us monitor the Internet from a couch,” Nolan said. “And while the Stephen A. Smiths, Mike Francesas, Dan Patricks and Keith Olbermanns of the world get to weigh in on the issues of the day, we just smile and throw to commercial. A lot of people like to justify women's supporting role in sports media by saying, well, they've never played the game, so they just aren't qualified to speak about it.”
Nolan said it’s time for a change. "It’s time for women to have a seat at the Big Boy table, and not where their presence is a gimmick or a concept, just a person who happens to have breasts offering their opinion on the sports they love and the topics they know," she said. "Because, the truth is the NFL will never respect women and their opinions as long as the media it answers to doesn’t. I’m ready when you are, Fox.”
Nolan’s comments regarding the NFL, sports media and the Rice elevator video can be viewed below.