On Tuesday, ESPN made the decision to remove Rachel Nichols from her sideline reporting role from this year’s NBA Finals in the wake of the comments she made involving her colleague Maria Taylor in July of 2020. The company maintained that the longtime NBA reporter would maintain her role as the host of “The Jump.”
“We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host The Jump,” ESPN said in a statement.
However, the company or Nichols must have backtracked on that plan, as Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that ESPN canceled “The Jump” on Tuesday. Instead, “Jalen and Jacoby” aired in its place.
The decision to not air “The Jump” comes after Nichols apologized for her leaked comments about Taylor on the daily NBA show on Monday. She kept things brief, citing her desire to not “become the story.”
“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.”
Despite her on-air apology, ESPN still decided to keep Nichols off of the network entirely on Tuesday. Sports media members desperately tried to decipher what the choice to completely cancel the NBA reporter’s show might mean for her future with the company, if anything at all.
— Jackson Gatlin (@JTGatlin) July 6, 2021
The Jump was supposed to air at 4 p.m. ET today. It did not. An ESPN spokesman has not responded to a request for comment on what happened. @AndrewMarchand reports it was canceled. https://t.co/Fc4GPwTem3
— Kevin Draper (@kevinmdraper) July 6, 2021
— Jenna Lemoncelli (@jennalemoncelli) July 6, 2021
This is spiraling out of control. Probably best to put Rachel Nichols off air indefinitely https://t.co/8b9cundcQf
— Bob Williams (@WilliamsBob75) July 6, 2021
Marchand reported that “The Jump” will return to its usual air time on Wednesday. Given the tense nature of the current situation, it’s unclear if that will be the case.