NBA reporter Rachel Nichols (Rachel Nichols) unknowingly recorded his own comments that colleague Maria Taylor hosted the 2020 NBA Finals report because ESPN “felt pressure” needed More diversification, which has caused major internal conflicts in ESPN.
According to the report on Sunday New York TimesWhite Nichols made comments before the finals between the Lakers and Heat in July 2020. Nichols is expected to report on the series, which takes place nationwide against systemic racism. And police brutality protests. ESPN selected Blake’s Taylor to complete this task.
According to the Times, Nichols made his comments on the phone with LeBron James’ adviser Adam Mendelson and former agent Rich Paul. Nichols unknowingly used the company-provided equipment to record her conversation and upload her conversation to ESPN’s server. According to reports, as part of the daily work process, dozens of employees were exposed to the video. At least one person recorded the video on his mobile phone and circulated it to other employees; it eventually reached the executives within a few hours.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the best in the world-she reports football, she reports basketball,” Nichols said on the phone. “If you need to ask her to do more, because you feel pressured by your long-term poor diversity record-by the way, I personally know from the female side-for example, do it. You can only find it elsewhere. You will not find it from me or take my things.
“I just want them to go somewhere else-by the way, this is in my contract; this work is in my written contract,” Nichols told Mendelssohn on the phone a few minutes later.
ESPN did not punish Nichols for her comments. Some ESPN employees told the New York Times that this behavior was a “positive source of pain” and discussion.
Nichols’ comments and ESPN’s refusal to condemn her for creating a stressful work environment at ESPN, many black employees told The Times, which confirmed that many “appearingly supportive whites talk differently when working behind closed doors”. The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the video, reported that Mendelssohn in the video also said: “I don’t know. I’m very tired. Between Me Too and Black Lives Matter, I have nothing.”
The Times reported that Taylor almost refused to continue reporting on the 2020 Finals in an email to ESPN executives including President Jimmy Pitaro. The email was dated approximately two weeks after Nichols uploaded her conversation.
Taylor wrote in an email to ESPN executives including Pitaro: “I will not call myself a victim, but I do feel that I have been hurt. I feel that my complaint has not been taken seriously. “In fact, after two incidents of ethnic insensitivity, the first time I got news from HR was to ask if I leaked Rachel’s recordings to the media. I would never do that.”
A few days later, Taylor reconsidered and told ESPN that as long as Nichols did not appear on the show, she would continue to host the “NBA Countdown” during the playoffs. ESPN agreed to this condition, but according to reports, Nichols appeared on the show in a short film where she did not interact with Taylor, thus immediately violating it.
This setting further exacerbated the tensions in the NBA in the 2020-21 season, with Nichols reporting on ESPN’s most important games from the sidelines. In order to prevent her and Taylor from interacting in the “NBA Countdown”, Nichols’ appearance on the show was pre-recorded, but it was broadcast live. Other clips from sideline reporters are a mix of live and pre-recorded.
Before the start of the 2021 NBA playoffs, ESPN threatened that if Taylor refused to “interact” with Nichols, off-court reporters would not show up. Some ESPN employees said that in order to keep her position, except for Nichols Besides, this would punish everyone unfairly.
The Times reported that the call before the “NBA Countdown” on May 22 became fierce, with commentators Jaylen Rose, Adrian Wojnarowski, Jay Williams and several others The program staff said that the move was beneficial to Nichols, but at the expense of others. In other words, ESPN’s decision not to allow other sideline reporters to participate in the show only affected women of color: Lisa Salters, Cassidy Hubbarth, and Malika Andrews, all of whom reportedly received smaller assignments. According to reports, Wojnarowski answered the phone, calling Nichols a “bad teammate.”
(According to people familiar with the matter, these restrictions were later removed after Pitaro talked with Taylor and Wojnarowski (only Wojnarowski at the time) to determine whether the reversal would help solve the problem).
In addition, only one person was clearly punished for Nichols’ comments: digital video producer Kayla Johnson, who reportedly told ESPN Human Resources that she had sent Nichols’ comments to Taylor. She was suspended without pay for two weeks. Johnson recently left ESPN and did not comment on the Times report.
In response to a question from The Times, Nichols said that she “introduced the ESPN process to friends, not Maria. My own intentions in that conversation, and the opinions of the ESPN chief, are not important here. Sum-if Maria finds the conversation disturbing, then it is because I am her.”
Nichols also said that she had tried to apologize to Taylor via text messages and phone calls. “Maria chose not to respond to these proposals. This is completely fair and a decision I respect.”
“Of course, we will not comment on the details of any commentator contract,” said ESPN spokesperson Josh Krulewitz. Krulewitz refused to let Pitaro be interviewed.
Taylor’s ESPN contract expires on July 20, and he declined to comment to The Times about his story.