Jul 21, 2021 - Sports

Maria Taylor to exit ESPN after contract negotiations fail

Maria Taylor

Maria Taylor. Photo: Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN and sports reporter Maria Taylor jointly announced Wednesday that the host is leaving the network after the two sides failed to reach an agreement to extend Taylor's contract.

Why it matters: Taylor's departure comes just weeks after the New York Times published leaked audio of basketball reporter Rachel Nichols suggesting Taylor, who is Black, was promoted because ESPN was "feeling pressure" on diversity.

Taylor's contract was due to expire on Tuesday following Game 6 of the NBA finals, The Athletic reported.

  • What to watch: She may be headed to NBC where she "could contribute to coverage of 'Sunday Night Football' and potentially the Olympics," the Washington Post reported, citing two industry sources.

What they're saying: "Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud," Taylor said in a statement.

  • "Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic," said Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN chairman. "There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve.
  • "While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together," Pitaro added.
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