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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.

Go deeper

New Superman comes out as bisexual in upcoming DC Comics issue

Jonathan Kent, the new Superman and son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, shares a kiss with reporter Jay Nakamura. Image: John Timms/DC Comics

The new Superman, Jonathan Kent, will soon come out as bisexual after becoming romantically involved with his reporter friend Jay Nakamura, DC Comics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The major announcement on the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane coincided with National Coming Out Day. Writer Tom Taylor told the New York Times following the announcement that the idea of "replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."