The sports media world continues to react to the developing situation at ESPN involving Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.
According to a report from the New York Times, Nichols chastised ESPN’s decision to promote Taylor to NBA Finals hosting duties in 2020. Nichols’ comments, which leaked in a video, suggested that Taylor, who is Black, got the role due to the color of her skin.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols reportedly said in July 2020. “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’ comments have reportedly caused a major problem at ESPN over the last year-plus.
According to the New York Times, Taylor has refused to interact with Nichols on the air. She reportedly told ESPN that she would host NBA Countdown, though she would not do any interviews with Nichols.
A few days later, Taylor reconsidered and told the company she would host “NBA Countdown” during the playoffs on one condition: She did not want Nichols to appear on the show.
In Taylor’s view, according to six people who have spoken to her, ESPN executives agreed to the stipulation but violated it almost immediately by allowing Nichols to make short appearances without interacting with Taylor. ESPN declined to comment about the arrangement.
Taylor is set to host the NBA Finals again this year. However, her contract with ESPN is reportedly up later this month.
ESPN might have to choose a clear side soon.