Why is Katie Nolan Leaving ESPN?

Sports host Katie Nolan has announced she's leaving ESPN with an emotional social media post sharing her feelings about her departure.

Nolan has worked for ESPN since October 2017 and she's leaving just shy of her fourth anniversary with the broadcaster. She hosted several shows across various ESPN channels, as well as the popular podcast Sports? with Katie Nolan.

The exact reasons for her departure are unclear but she had hinted at her exit as early as November last year after a friend of hers was laid off by ESPN. Many of her fans have spoken out in support of Nolan whilst criticizing ESPN.

What Katie Nolan said about leaving ESPN

Nolan created a Twitter thread for her goodbye message, spreading it across four tweets. She started by saying she'd been thinking about sending the message for weeks, implying that she's been aware for a while that she would be leaving ESPN.

She continued: "I no longer work at ESPN. I'm really grateful for my time here. I made incredible friendships and valuable mistakes.

"This year of slowing down has affected me on a cellular level. If you listen to the podcast this isn't news to you. What's next for me is to figure out how/where/when this new me can use the skills the old me acquired to make the stuff I think needs making. And maybe a vacation?"

Moving on to her thank yous, Nolan said: "For the sake of brevity I'm gonna handle most of my thank yous via text, but I do want to publicly sing the praises of @AshleyBraband, a woman who made a lot of personal sacrifices in service of ESPN and myself, and who may never know how much that means to me."

She finished the message by addressing the fans of her popular podcast. She wrote: "Lastly, to the most beleaguered podcast fans in the game: Thank you, for all of it. Seeing you be decent and hilarious with each other online is the best evidence I have that I'm on a path worth walking. You rule. If you're still here when I get back, I won't forget that. LYMI."

I’ve thought about sending this tweet for weeks and I still have no clue how to make it not make you all roll your eyes. Alas: the obvious thing has happened. I no longer work at ESPN. I’m really grateful for my time here. I made incredible friendships and valuable mistakes.

— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) September 29, 2021

Who is Ashley Braband?

Ashley Braband is a former ESPN employee who was one of 300 people laid off by ESPN last year. She acted as the producer and co-host of Nolan's podcast Sports? with Katie Nolan.

After the news of Braband's departure was announced, Nolan expressed her shock on Reddit.

Speaking on the podcast, Nolan said she wouldn't have signed a new deal with ESPN last year if she'd have known her co-host had been let go. With Braband on the show with her, Nolan said, "It's also very difficult for me to have just told a company 'I'm going to be here for a little bit', and then have this happen in a situation where normally I'd be like, 'Well, then I go.' But now, I can't do that."

Had she known Ashley Braband would be laid off, Katie Nolan says she wouldn’t have signed a new contract with ESPN: pic.twitter.com/zJ911g9MCK

— The IC Workstation (@ClippelBoardy) November 18, 2020

Nolan also expressed her dismay with ESPN for letting Braband go. "She was forced out, I don't want to soften that. What they did was bad, I think. And I think many people agree."

The reaction to Katie Nolan's departure

Sports broadcasters and fans across the board replied to Nolan's Twitter goodbye, posting several kind messages and tributes to her professionalism.

Her ESPN colleagues Mina Kimes, Christina E. Buswell and Matthew Berry, former Fox Sports colleagues Paul Schrager and Joe Klatt, and many more sports broadcasters and fans wrote supportive messages to Nolan.

Over 1,000 people quote tweeted Nolan's exit-message and voiced their own opinion about the news. The majority of the reaction is supportive to Nolan and criticizes ESPN for letting her leave.

WTF is ESPN thinking? https://t.co/vWmJGBJgL4

— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) September 30, 2021

Hiring talented women in sports isn’t enough. They need to be empowered to shine. Best of luck to Katie, who will be fabulous wherever she lands. https://t.co/fbpCSWkErS

— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) September 29, 2021

Ahhh, damn damn damn sister. 😢Go get that vacation you deserve. Whoever gets you next is #winning. So talented, funny, and equally important, kind. Can't wait to continue to watch you soar. https://t.co/WxFY4FnzkQ

— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) September 29, 2021

I'm sure she will land in a great place that appreciates her work but also nooooooooooooooooooooooooo https://t.co/824MlzRPMI

— michael cruz kayne (@CruzKayne) September 29, 2021

The initiative to drain all the fun out of ESPN continues apace. This is some throwing-a-flag-for-endzone-celebrations shit. https://t.co/gto01ZlwTQ

— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) September 29, 2021

Honestly, I believe only two things: 1) Katie Nolan should be on TV at all times.
2) Hippos are just dinosaur pigs. https://t.co/b6TKAh3WjU

— Sean O'Connor (@seanoconnz) September 29, 2021

Newsweek have reached out to Nolan's representatives for further comment.