Story at a glance
- ESPN is canceling anchor Rachel Nichols’ show and removing her from its NBA programming.
- Controversy arose last month after leaked tape showed Nichols saying her colleague Maria Taylor, who is Black, was given Nichols’ hosting gig for “diversity” reasons.
- Nichols will be paid for the rest of her contract with ESPN, which isn’t up until 2023.
ESPN is canceling anchor Rachel Nichols’ show and removing her from its NBA programming after comments she made about a colleague were leaked in July.
Last month, a video from the 2020 NBA Finals surfaced in which Nichols, who is white, is overheard saying her colleague Maria Taylor, who is Black, would host ESPN’s returning NBA coverage over Nichols for “diversity” reasons.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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,” Nichols said, adding, “I just want them to go somewhere else — it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing.”
Nichols’ basketball program “The Jump,” which has run since 2016, has been canceled, and ESPN says it will be replacing it with a new basketball show. Nichols will be paid through the rest of her contract with ESPN, which expires in 2023.
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” ESPN executive Dave Roberts told Sports Business Journal. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
Nichols confirmed the news on her Instagram.
“Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people talking about one my [sic] favorite things. An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew - The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. More to come…” she wrote.
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