Rachel Nichols She apologized to ESPN co-star Maria Taylor on air Monday after Leaked audio clip Nichols, who is White, revealed her complaint that Taylor, who is black, won the NBA Finals for Nichols last year for what she thought were “diversity” reasons.
“So the first thing they teach you in journalism school is not to be a story,” Nichols said to open “The Jump” on ESPN 2: “And I’m not planning to break that rule today or distract from great finals.” “But I also don’t want to let this moment go by without saying how much I respect, and how much I appreciate our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply sorry I am for the frustration of those I have hurt, especially Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of such an outstanding team.”
Former NBA players Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, Nichols’ co-stars in The Jump, have voiced their support for Nichols.
The clips he got The New York Times Nichols was shown talking to Adam Mendelsohn, an advisor to LeBron James, while she was in the NBA bubble last July. Nichols was Unaware that her camcorder was on While she was on the phone she was recorded and uploaded to the ESPN server.
“I wish Mariah Taylor all the success in the world – she covers football and she covers basketball,” Nichols said in one clip. “If you need to give her more things to do because you’re feeling pressured about your long, poor record in diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, look for it. Just find it somewhere else. You won’t find it from me or take my things.
“I just want them to go somewhere else – it’s by the way in my contract; this job is written in my contract,” Nichols added.
The Times reported that several ESPN employees were “outraged” by Nichols’ comments in the video. An ESPN employee who is part of the network’s NBA coverage told The Times that not sanctioning Nichols for her comments was an “active source of pain.”
Taylor’s ESPN contract is set to expire in about two weeks. Andrew Marchand of The Post reported last week that she turned down an offer that would have escalated to nearly $5 million a year.
Taylor has not commented publicly since the clip was released and declined to comment for The Times.