Rachel Nichols will not report from the ABC bench during the NBA Finals, ESPN announced.
Nichols, who is mired in controversy after it was reported that she claimed her fellow ESPN reporter Maria Taylor was hosting the NBA Finals last year because the network was facing pressure to be diverse, will instead continue to feature. ” The Jump, “ESPN’s weekday show that provides NBA analysis alongside Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson, the network said in its statement.
Malika Andrews will take over the guidelines for coverage of the NBA Finals on ABC. Mike Breen will continue as a play-by-play commentator with analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.
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On Monday’s episode of “The Jump,” Nichols publicly apologized to Taylor and others for his comments, saying that while he didn’t want to be the story, he also felt he needed to take the opportunity to address his comments.
“The first thing they teach you in journalism school is, ‘Don’t be the story.’ And I don’t plan on breaking that rule today or getting distracted from a fantastic final, “said Nichols.” But I also don’t want to let this moment go by without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply I am sorry to disappoint those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor. And how grateful I am to be a part of this exceptional team. “
Perkins responded, saying that he knows that Nichols is a “great person” while also saying that Taylor is “very, very talented, hard-working” and that “he deserves every opportunity that comes his way.”
Jefferson added that there has been a “difficult conversation” and that they will continue to have those conversations.
“No one is excused,” Jefferson said. “(Nichols) is not excused. I am not excused, (Perkins). This is not going away.”
Nichols ‘comments came during a phone conversation with LeBron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn and agent Rich Paul. according to a report by The New York Times, which were then uploaded to ESPN’s servers. The report indicated that dozens of employees came into contact with the video and that a person recorded the video on their phone and reached company executives.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world – she covers soccer, she covers basketball,” Nichols said on the call, according to The Times report. “If you need to give her more to do because you feel pressured by your shitty history in diversity, which, by the way, I know personally from the feminine side, do it. Find it elsewhere. You will not find it or take it away from me.
“I just want them to go somewhere else, by the way, it’s in my contract; this job is in my written contract. “
Taylor has not publicly responded to The Times report. His contract with ESPN expires on July 20.