In comments still going around through the network, ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, who is white, said Maria Taylor, who is Black, earned the job to host 2020 N.B.A. finals coverage because ESPN was “feeling pressure” on diversity.
Nichols discussed her career on a phone call on July 13, 2020, with Adam Mendelsohn, friend of LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul.
“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: “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.” pic.twitter.com/aB5MifujuX
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 4, 2021
Maria Taylor did not take the ranting from Rachel Nichols sitting down. The rising star from ESPN felt unfairly disparaged and Maria Taylor did not take the slander from Rachel Nichols as she is now refusing to interact with Nichols on the air. The report says she would host NBA Countdown, though she would not do any interviews with Nichols.
“I will not call myself a victim, but I certainly have felt victimized and I do not feel as though my complaints have been taken seriously,” she wrote in an email to ESPN executives, two weeks after the Rachel Nichols incident, which was obtained by The Times. “In fact, the first time I have heard from HR after 2 incidents of racial insensitivity was to ask if I leaked Rachel’s tape to the media. I would never do that. Simply being a front facing black woman at this company has taken its toll physically and mentally.”
Nichols told the New York Times that she reached out to Taylor to apologize, but Taylor wanted nothing to do with her. Maria Taylor’s contract is expected to expire during the duration of this year’s NBA Finals.