ESPN is pulling reporter Rachel Nichols from its NBA coverage and canceling her show “The Jump,” the network confirmed Wednesday. The decision followsover leaked comments she made about her former colleague Maria Taylor.
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned. Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content,” said David Roberts, ESPN’s senior vice president of production.
Nichols commented on the decision Wednesday. “Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people talking about one my favorite things,” she wrote on Instagram. “The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun.”
“More to come.”
In July, The New York Times first reported on the leaked audio. Nichols, who is White, said Taylor was only chosen to be the sideline reporter for last year’s NBA Finals because she is Black.
“If you need to give her more things to do because you’re feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity – which, by the way, I myself know personally – like, go for it, just find it somewhere else,” she said in the recording.
Several days later, ESPN benched Nichols from reporting on the sidelines of this year’s NBA championship series. But she continued to cover the series on “The Jump” and later reported on this year’s summer league tournament.
Rachel also apologized for the comments on her show, saying, “I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor.”
Last month, Taylor alsowith the network after both sides failed to agree on a contract extension.