On Monday ESPN personality and host of “The Jump” Rachel Nichols opened the show with an apology to her ESPN colleagues and Maria Taylor — one day after leaked audio revealed Nichols citing the network’s “pressure” on diversity as to why Taylor was getting a hosting job over her.
Nichols appeared to be tearing up at one point during the apology in which she stated the following:
“The first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story. I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals.”
“But I also don’t want to let this moment pass how much I respect and how much value our colleagues here at ESPN and how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”
On Sunday the New York Times published a story on how Nichols was caught unknowingly on camera lamenting to Adam Mendelsohn, an adviser for LeBron James, about how ESPN promoted Taylor as the “NBA Countdown” host while relegating Nichols to a sideline reporter.
The comments made by Nichols came last July and were uploaded into the server at ESPN headquarters, which was then taped on a cellphone by an employee and made its way around the company.
Despite working on the same show, Nichols and Taylor have not interacted over the last year, although Nichols said she has made attempts to reach out to apologize.
The rift caused all of Nichols segments to be taped and were broadcast to appear live. That led networks executives to threaten all sideline reporter interviews be taped unless Taylor and Nichols reconcile prior to the start of the this year’s NBA playoffs.
This led to backlash from others on the show, who were upset that Nichols was never disciplined for her deragatory comments. A phone call with those on the show and ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro was needed to smooth things over and the restrictions were rescinded.
I wonder how this would’ve been handled if it were Taylor making comments like that about Nichols had she been promoted. Or better yet I know how this would’ve been handled, and let’s just say it’s highly unlikely Taylor would’ve been able to keep her job without an apology, plus discipline.
But that’s the way it is in the good ole’ United States of America.
Taylor’s brilliance and excellence is a stark reminder of how it is when you’re just too damn good at what you do while being BLACK!