For the first time since the New York Times story revealed the schism at ESPN over comments made by Rachel Nichols in July of 2020, Maria Taylor has broken her silence.
Taylor was on the receiving end of disparaging comments made by Nichols prior to the 2020 NBA Finals that were just revealed to the public over the weekend. The last few days have been marred by controversy at the Worldwide Leader.
Nichols lost her usual spot on the sidelines for the ESPN broadcast team and a day of the network’s flagship daytime NBA show, “The Jump,” which Nichols hosts, was canceled on Tuesday.
For the first time since the fallout, Taylor indirectly addressed the situation with an upbeat tweet on Wednesday evening.
“During the dark times I always remember that I am in this position to open doors and light the path that others walk down. I’ve taken some punches but that just means I’m still in the fight. Remember to lift as you climb and always KEEP RISING,” Taylor wrote.
During the dark times I always remember that I am in this position to open doors and light the path that others walk down. I’ve taken some punches but that just means I’m still in the fight. Remember to lift as you climb and always KEEP RISING ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ztSIx9CLpO
— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) July 7, 2021
The original comments made by Nichols in July of 2020 showed she wasn’t pleased with being replaced as the host of NBA Countdown. She sounded off on a call with LeBron James’ longtime advisor, Adam Mendelsohn, clearly frustrated with the decision.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said, according to the New York Times. “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.”
After audio of Nichols making the above comments leaked, she apologized on “The Jump” on Monday afternoon.
“The first thing they teach you in journalism school is ‘Don’t be the story,’ and I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from the (NBA) Finals,” Nichols said. “But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN, [and] how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and for how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”
It’s unclear if there will be further fallout at ESPN following the conclusion of the NBA Finals, but this situation hasn’t reached a conclusion quite yet.