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Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN announced Tuesday it would move its longtime basketball reporter Rachel Nichols off sideline coverage of the NBA Finals amid controversy related to disparaging comments she made last year about her colleague Maria Taylor, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: The sports-media giant's decision comes two days after the New York Times published a leaked audio recording of Nichols suggesting the promotion of Taylor, who is Black, was because ESPN was "feeling pressure" on diversity.

  • Nichols had reportedly not been disciplined for her comments about Taylor, which date back to July 2020, per CNBC.

What they're saying: "We believe this is [the] best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host 'The Jump,'" the network said, per CNBC.

Nichols apologized for her comments Monday.

  • “The first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story, and I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals,” Nichols said.
  • “But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN, how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”

What to watch: ESPN said Nichols will still appear on "The Jump" for the Finals games across its weekday shows.

  • Taylor will be on “NBA Countdown” with other channel reporters for pregame and halftime coverage of the NBA Finals, ESPN said, per CNBC.

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2021 - Sports

Reports: NBA outlines COVID protocols plan for 2021-22 season

Photo: Shen Chunchen/VCG via Getty Images

The NBA released its tentative health and safety protocols for next season to teams on Tuesday, detailing how different it could be for vaccinated and unvaccinated players, ESPN reports.

Why it matters: Roughly 90% of NBA players are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, per an earlier statement from National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). They would have fewer restrictions under the NBA's plan, but unvaccinated players would have to undergo daily testing including before games, per ESPN.

30 mins ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

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