Embattled ESPN host Maria Taylor has reportedly resigned from the network as expected, immediately following the conclusion of the NBA Finals that she covered.
ESPN announced that Taylor, 34, is leaving the network on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. This comes after fellow sports reporter, Rachel Nichols, complained that the sports leader was promoting Taylor over her in order to “promote diversity” rather than her merit. Those words, recorded accidentally because Nichols failed to turn off her mic during a private call, ignited an enormous internal fallout in the summer of 2020.
Officially, however, Taylor and ESPN are allowing the narrative that they could not come to a contract agreement to dominate the headlines.
ESPN was gracious in its remarks regarding Taylor’s departure:
“Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic. There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve,” the network said in a statement obtained by NBC. “While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
Speaking of the Peacock network, rolling out previously reported that Taylor was in negotiations to land a posh gig there, replete with hosting duties for the ongoing Tokyo Olympics and other high-profile assignments.
Taylor chose to wax nostalgic as she leaves ESPN in her rearview mirror.
“So thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family — the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up. Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud,” she said.