ESPN is purging Rachel Nichols from their NBA programming and canceling “The Jump” after her controversial hot-mic comments about Maria Taylor.
Rachel Nichols’ time with ESPN isn’t over, but NBA fans won’t be seeing her in front of a camera going forward.
ESPN is taking Nichols off all their NBA programming and canceling her TV show “The Jump,” according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” Senior VP David Roberts told SBJ.
Nichols contract still has another year remaining on it but the report from SBJ suggests “it is unlikely that she will appear on ESPN’s air during that time.”
The major fallout from the Rachel Nichols controversy has arrived for ESPN
This all started with a hot mic. Nichols was talking to a sports PR exec when she made disparaging comments about fellow studio host Maria Taylor. Taylor was chosen to host “NBA Countdown” during the NBA Finals in 2020 and Nichols, who thought she should have gotten the gig under her contract, claimed it was a diversity play on the part of the network.
The conversation was recorded unbeknownst to Nichols and was shared around by ESPN employees before The New York Times made it public. She was taken off NBA playoffs coverage this year as a result of the controversy.
Taylor left ESPN for NBC Sports after the NBA season finished up. That means ESPN has to find a new “NBA Countdown” host with both Taylor and Nichols unavailable.
They’ll also replace Nichols’ “The Jump” with a new afternoon NBA show before the 2021-22 season begins, though it’s not yet known who will take the helm of that show.