While ESPN’s Rachel Nichols continues to face backlash over comments she made about her colleague Maria Taylor, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he believes her comments should not lose her career.
While Silver, speaking during a press conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Suns and the Bucks, called the situation on ESPN “daunting,” he said it must be recognized that people, “especially employees at long term they are in good standing “make mistakes.
“That careers shouldn’t be erased with a single comment. That we should judge people by the larger context of their work and who they are and what we know about them,” Silver said.
MORE: The Suns’ Chris Paul had the answer for everything the Bucks defense threw at him in Game 1
Silver said it was “particularly unfortunate that two women in the industry are up against each other,” and said both Taylor and Nichols are “excellent at what they do.”
He added that he felt part of the problem was that ESPN couldn’t get everyone in the room to have the challenging conversations.
“This is an incident that happened, I guess, when Rachel was in the bubble a year ago, and I would have thought that in the past year, maybe through some incredibly difficult conversations, ESPN would have found a way to get over it.”, Silver said. “Obviously not.”
Silver said he is confident in the leadership of ESPN and Disney and that the company will be able to overcome the situation, but said it is particularly difficult to deal with this in the sports and media industry, given that everything is developed publicly, while in other businesses, it is managed by human resources departments.
“These issues are not unique to ESPN. Like I said, the league is working on its own issues in terms of doing a better job with diversity and it’s not just in sports, but in business across the United States. There is an adjustment. of counts”. Silver said. “I think part of what we’re seeing on ESPN, it’s one thing to talk about the principles around diversity and inclusion. It’s another thing when it comes to someone’s specific job and how it’s handled. And what I’ve learned to deal with. with these problems in the NBA is that they are incredibly complex. “
Nichols, who is white, has been attacked after a report from The New York Times came out Sunday that made comments, which were recorded and saved on ESPN’s servers, to LeBron James adviser Adam Mendelsohn and agent Rich Paul that Taylor, who is black, was the host of the NBA Finals. 2020 because the network was “feeling pressure” to be more diverse.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world – she covers soccer, she covers basketball,” Nichols said on the call. “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. “
Since then, Nichols has apologized on “The Jump” to Taylor and others.
“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. “
ESPN announced Tuesday that Nichols would not report on the guidelines during ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals, and would instead be Malika Andrews. Nichols will continue to work on “The Jump” during the postseason.