Aug 25, 2021 - Sports

ESPN removes Rachel Nichols from all NBA programming

Picture of ESPN's Rachel Nichols
Photo: Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN announced on Wednesday that it will be removing longtime basketball reporter Rachel Nichols from all NBA coverage, and her daily show "The Jump" is getting canceled, the Sports Business Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The move comes more than a month after the New York Times released a leaked audio recording of Nichols, who is white, suggesting that her colleague Maria Taylor, who is Black, was chosen to lead ESPN's NBA finals coverage because the network was "feeling pressure" on diversity.

  • Nichols said that she had been promised the role as part of her contract, the SBJ notes.

What they're saying: "We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned," David Roberts, ESPN's senior vice president of production, told Axios.

  • "Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content," he added.
  • "Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people," Nichols tweeted. "'The Jump' was never built to last forever but it sure was fun."
  • Nichols ended her tweet by saying, "More to come ..."

What's next: "The Jump" will continue to air for a few more weeks, but Nichols will not be hosting, per SBJ.

  • ESPN will launch a new NBA afternoon show, but no details have been released.

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