Rachel Nichols, host of ESPN’s “The Jump” and renowned NBA reporter, has had her time on air cut short by the network. Her show has been cancelled, and she has been removed from all NBA programming. Two months ago, prior to the NBA Finals, comments made by Nichols disparaging Black co-worker Maria Taylor were made public.
Nichols suggested that Maria Taylor was given unfair treatment, and undeserved promotions because she’s Black. She was subsequently removed from coverage of the NBA Finals, a role she had claimed since the 2019-2020 season.
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” said David Roberts, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Production. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host, and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
The comments made by Nichols were released on July 4th by the New York Times. It was a recorded conversation between her, adviser Adam Mendelsohn, and LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul.
“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,” said Nichols in the recording. “Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or take my thing away.”
Despite the show’s popularity, the Black dominated NBA landscape, as well as the growing Black presence in sports media is no place for someone that has used racist diatribe. ESPN has plans in place for a new daily NBA commentary program, though nothing has been announced as of yet.
ESPN will also have to find someone new to lead the way during “NBA Countdown,” their primetime NBA broadcast. Maria Taylor left the network earlier this summer, signing an $8 million dollar deal to join NBC’s broadcast team.
Sources: NPR.ORG, NYTIMES.COM, CTVNEWS.CA, SPORTS.YAHOO.COM