Maria Taylor Leaves ESPN After Leaked Audio Drama, Reportedly Going To NBC Sports
As previously reported, The New York Times published a story on July 4 that featured audio from reporter Rachel Nichols speaking against Maria Taylor being named the host of NBA Countdown. In the clip (which dates back to July 2020), Rachel Nichols, who is white, alluded to Maria Taylor only landing the job because she’s black as the network attempts to improve its diversity.
She said in part,
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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.”
Rachel Nichols later apologized for her remarks.
Now, Maria Taylor is leaving ESPN after the two parties failed to agree on her contract moving forward. There is speculation that she is heading to NBC Sports and could cover the Olympics for the channel.
ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said of 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. While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
Taylor also spoke on her experience with the network and said,
“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.”
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