Rachel Nichols is facing criticism over comments she reportedly made about diversity at ESPN.
In a leaked recording obtained by the New York Times, Nichols can be heard saying coworker Maria Taylor got a gig at the NBA Finals because ESPN was “feeling pressure” about its “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” the host of The Jump said last July in the audio. “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.”
The audio was reportedly recorded on an ESPN camera she left on, which kept her conversation with advisor Adam Mendelsohn and uploaded it to ESPN’s servers. After making rounds internally, the clip was shared with the Times.
The NYT shared that the clip caused controversy within the network, with members of the NBA Countdown program unsure if they should continue to appear. Both Nichols and Taylor were then allegedly kept away from each other on air.
Nichols allegedly called herself “a victim of them trying to play catch-up for the same damage that affected me in the first place,” but was not punished for her actions, with the only person reprimanded reportedly being a Black staff member who sent the video to Taylor.