Let me start by saying the following: I am a big fan of Rachel Nichols.
I respect the courage she had in wanting to confront Floyd Mayweather regarding his record on domestic violence ahead of the Manny Pacquiao fight – and was banned from pressers by Floyd as a result. I also praised her for her tough questioning of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal.
And she DID pay her dues: first writing for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel sports page from 1995 to 1996 before covering the NHL’s Washington Capitals for the Washington Post from 1996 to 2004. She joined ESPN in 2004.
She later left ESPN for CNN in 2013 and worked the sidelines for Turner Sports’ NBA on TNT program from 2013 to 2016, and found herself back at ESPN in 2016 co-hosting The Jump ever since.
I mentioned all of that to say that Nichols is indeed an accomplished journalist.
Now that doesn’t excuse her for dismissing Maria Taylor.
Last year in the bubble, Nichols suggested in a conversation with Adam Mendelsohn, the longtime adviser of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and James’s agent, Rich Paul, that the host of “NBA Countdown,” Maria Taylor, had gotten that job because she is Black.
Check out what Nichols had to say:
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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.”
Unbeknown to Nichols, her video camera was on, and the call was being recorded to a server at ESPN’s headquarters. So yup, her ignorant statement was captured by a hot mic.
It was a part of a conversation with Mendelsohn, a white dude, over exhaustion over the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, and the culture at ESPN’s headquarters (filled with conservative white Trump-supporting dudes who Nichols felt was holding her back).
Regardless, Nichols saying Taylor taking over her job on NBA Countdown was hurtful, ignorant, and downright shameful.
And let’s not forget Taylor is accomplished in her own right.
She was reporter and host for IMG College at the University of Georgia for three years. She joined the SEC Network in 2014, acted as a college football reporter on SEC Network with commentator Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer. She is also an analyst on other SEC telecasts, including volleyball and women’s basketball.
Nichols needs to understand that ESPN felt like Taylor, like herself, was qualified to take over the NBA Countdown duties.
And before Nichols and her sycophants claim that Taylor got an unfair advantage, they should remember the following: she is the daughter-in-law of Mike Nichols, a famed film and stage director in Hollywood, and Diane Sawyer (yes, THAT Diane Sawyer).
Rachel: I love ya, but you gotta sit your ass down somewhere for that…