ESPN has officially removed beleaguered journalist and host Rachel Nichols from all NBA-related programming, effective immediately. The show Nichols hosted called “The Jump” replaced her a few days ago with another ESPN talent. Now, that show has officially been cancelled altogether. Rachel Nichols was primarily tasked with covering the NBA, so this effectively ends her tenure at ESPN. There is one more year on her contract, but that doesn’t appear to matter. ESPN essentially “benched” Rachel Nichols.
This is the end of a drama that began a few months ago. Well, the beginning of what the general public was able to see. The public was exposed to a spat between two ESPN on-air hosts, Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor. Taylor was given the job of hosting the NBA finals which was already contractually awarded to Rachel Nichols. This move upset Nichols so much that she decided to vent her frustrations to a man by the name of Adam Mendelsohn after a remote ESPN hit. Mendelsohn is (or was) a top advisor to LeBron James and the purpose of the phone call was to secure an interview with LeBron and his Lakers teammate Anthony Davis.
Nichols alleged that race was the motivating factor behind ESPN giving her gig to Maria Taylor, who is black. Nichols forgot to turn her camera off after the remote hit, so her entire conversation was recorded and kept on a server in Bristol, Connecticut. An ESPN employee with access to the recorded audio data decided to release it. The employee just so happened to be friends (or at least friendly) with Maria Taylor. Maria Taylor just so happens to be in a contract dispute with ESPN at the time. She wanted a contract comparable to ESPN titan Stephen A. Smith, which was never going to happen. But maybe the leaked tape and allegations of racism and nepotism against the network would work in her favor.
So the tape is released to the general public and causes nothing short of a firestorm. On-air talent threatened to boycott and/or quit the show. The racial divide which already existed within ESPN (and parent company Disney to a certain extent) became much more noticeable. The public perception of ESPN (which was already spotty) tanked. The timing of it was also bad because the United States was fresh off of a difficult Presidential Election where black lives matter riots were front and center. Corporations (including DISNEY) all pandered to BLM. So an allegation of racism levied against one of the top talents at that time was probably the worst possible thing to happen.
All of this may have just been a result of someone attempting to get more money on their renewal contract. Maria Taylor wound up leaving the network and going to NBC anyway. Rachel Nichols was pretty much cast away as persona non grata and her next step will most likely be off of the network as well. But this is the result of engaging with a woke culture. When one lives by the “woke” sword, they also die by that.
Rachel Nichols Removed from NBA Programming, “The Jump” Canceled
Top ESPN Analysts Considered Boycott Over Leaked Rachel Nichols Video About Black Host
ESPN slammed for ‘wokeism,’ mismanagement over Rachel Nichols saga: ‘Handled in a spectacularly poor manner’ | Fox News
Maria Taylor Will Leave ESPN : NPR
ESPN Cancels Nichols’s Show After Maria Taylor Comments – The New York Times
Rachel Nichols’ ESPN Show Is Canceled After Her Maria Taylor Comments : NPR
Mike Richards Out as ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Following Controversy – Rolling Stone