Rachel Nichols removed from all ESPN programing after Maria Taylor comments

Rachel Nichols removed from all ESPN programing after Maria Taylor comments
Maria Taylor (Photo credit: / lev radin)

ESPN confirmed on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, that Rachel Nichols has been removed from all coverage of the network’s programs and her weekday afternoon show “The Jump” has been canceled. The longtime NBA host caught heat in July after audio footage leaked of her suggesting co-worker Maria Taylor was promoted over her due to the “push for diversity.”

Nichols was having a private conversation in June 2020 with LeBron James’ publicist while her TV mic was still on and she was heard allegedly stating that Taylor was given certain TV roles to cover to placate the Black Lives Matter movement that was intense at the time following the murder of George Floyd. Nichols’ original punishment by the network included being removed from any coverage of the 2021 NBA Finals. Taylor also replaced Nichols as host of the “NBA Countdown” prior to the games.

David Roberts, ESPN’s senior vice president of production, released a statement to CNN on the change stating that the sides “mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned. Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”

Despite being relieved of her duties, Nichols still has a year left on her contract. She also addressed the news on Twitter and thanked her crew on “The Jump.”

“Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people, talking about one my favorite things. An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew — The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. More to come …,” Nichols tweeted.

Taylor has moved on after parting ways with ESPN after a contract extension between both sides could not be reached. She’s now joined the team of NBC Sports and made her first appearance with the network during the coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last month.

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