There is a huge shakeup in ESPN, according to Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand, with the sports media giant removing Rachel Nichols from its NBA programming and canceling “The Jump,” an afternoon show about the NBA which she has hosted since 2016.
ESPN Senior VP/Production David Roberts released a statement regarding the Nichols decision, saying that they mutually agreed that this approach regarding their NBA coverage was best for all concerned. Roberts paid tribute to Nichols later in his statement, saying, “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
Nichols thanks producers and crew after shock firing
Shortly after the news broke of her firing, Nichols took to social media to thank the people she collaborated with during her time with ESPN. She gave an eternal thank you to the amazing producers and crew of “The Jump,” saying that it was fun creating a whole show and spending five years hanging out with some of her favorite people talking about the sport that she loved, basketball.
Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people ❤️ talking about one my favorite things 🏀 An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew – The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. 😎
More to come… pic.twitter.com/FPMFRlfJin
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 25, 2021
Nichols ended her statement with, “More to come…” Nichols’ immediate future, however, doesn’t lie with ESPN even though she still has one year remaining in her contract with reports stating that she is not expected to appear on television during that time.
It wasn’t a complete surprise to see Nichols’ time with ESPN come to a swift end. The decision to fire Nichols comes nearly two months after the New York Times‘ Kevin Draper wrote a bombshell report about Nichol’s disparaging remarks concerning former colleague Maria Taylor during a private phone call last year.
Nichols launches attack on Taylor and ESPN in leaked private phone call
In that said audio exchange, Nichols seemed to suggest that Taylor got the gig as host of the NBA Countdown because she is Black. Nichols was heard in the recording saying, “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.”
Taylor decided to leave ESPN back in July right after the conclusion of the NBA Finals as she went on to sign a lucrative deal with NBC Sports. Unfortunately for Nichols, she won’t get the prime hosting positions that Taylor once held with ESPN, with the network deciding they should have a fresh start.
Rumors are rife that rising star Malika Andrews will host an NBA show similar to ESPN‘s highly popular NFL Live. We’ll find out soon enough if this is true with the 2021-22 NBA season starting in just two months.
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