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Rachel Nichols officially leaves ESPN after settlement

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Sports media personality Rachel Nichols and ESPN have mutually agreed to part ways amid fallout over comments she made about diversity at the network. 

Sources told The New York Post on Wednesday that both sides reached a settlement agreement for Nichols to pursue other opportunities. 

Nichols, who has been with the network for 16 years, had one year left on her current contract, but ESPN reportedly had no intention to use her on their weekly programming. 

Nichols was one of ESPN’s top personalities, mostly working for the sports network’s NBA coverage as an anchor, host and sideline reporter. 

Sources said Nichols was making up to $1.5 million to $2 million per year as a network employee, according to the Post.

The latest news comes amid the controversy surrounding Nichols and her former colleague Maria Taylor. 

Last July, The New York Times published a story that leaked an audio recording of a conversation between Nichols and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James’s adviser Adam Mendelsohn while teams were in the NBA COVID-19 bubble, where she criticized her network for her company’s efforts on diversity for promoting Taylor, who is Black, to host the NBA Countdown show.  

“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols told Mendelsohn before discussing the network’s record on diversity.

“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 received swift backlash for her comments and apologized on her former NBA show “The Jump” the day after the comments became public.

Nichols, who is white, was then replaced by Black NBA reporter Malika Andrews as the lead sideline reporter for their NBA Finals coverage, and “The Jump” was canceled in October for a new NBA-centered show “NBA Today,” hosted by Andrews. 

Maria Taylor, who spent eight years with the network, left in July to join NBC Sports after her contract expired. 

ESPN declined to comment on the settlement with Nichols.

Tags Diversity espn ESPN Nichols controversy Rachel Nichols

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