ESPN pulls Rachel Nichols off NBA coverage; cancels “The Jump”

Michigan Finally faces a real oppon...
Michigan Finally faces a real opponent in Maryland but should still cover the spread

ESPN pulls longtime reporter Rachel Nichols from NBA coverage and is set to cancel her weekday show, “The Jump”, over racial comments she made regarding former colleague Maria Taylor.

The sports broadcasting network disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, 25 August 2021, amid ongoing backlash to Rachel’s race-related comments about former colleague Maria Taylor.

In the statement, ESPN senior vice president for production David Roberts said: “We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned. Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”

The days of Rachel Nichols at the network became numbered after her comments about Maria Taylor were reported by the New York Times in early July, just before the NBA Finals began.

Unknown to Nichols, her complaints about how ESPN chose Taylor over her to cover the 2020 NBA finals while speaking on the phone to Adam Mendelsohn, a PR operator and advisor to LeBron James, in her remote studio, was recorded by the network’s server.

In the recording, she vented about how she thought ESPN management practised long-documented sexism and went on to strongly imply that Taylor was getting a chance to host the 2020 Finals because she was black.

Read also: Who is Joy Taylor? Former Fox Sports “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” presenter and “The Herd” co-host.

She had said: “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”

The recording caused reverberations within the company for a year before they went fully public.

See why ESPN pulls Rachel Nichols off NBA coverage and cancel "The Jump"
Maria Taylor left ESPN after Rachel Nichols racial comments regarding her

According to the Times, most black ESPN employees were both disturbed by what Nichols said about Taylor and, more so, by the fact that ESPN declined to punish Nichols over it.

ESPN had pulled Rachel Nichols from her sideline reporting gig during the Finals but still left her on the daily show. Meanwhile, Taylor has since departed for NBC Sports.

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