In an effort to turn the spotlight back to the upcoming NBA Finals, ESPN broadcaster Rachel Nichols on Monday offered an apology over the contents of a leaked phone call and comments she made about ESPN colleague Maria Taylor.
A New York Times report highlighted ESPN’s attempts to calm a year’s worth of animosity between the two that touched on racial issues and at one point caused several prominent ESPN personalities to take sides.
On Monday afternoon, Nichols opened “The Jump,” the daily NBA show she co-hosts, with a simple and straightforward message:
“So the first thing they teach 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, 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.”
On a phone call from May 2020, Nichols complained about Taylor being selected to host ESPN’s NBA Finals coverage, insinuating that the decision was made not on merit, but because the network was “feeling pressure about (its) crappy longtime record on diversity.”
Nichols has said she has no animosity toward Taylor and that she has reached out multiple times via text and phone calls.
Monday, she made sure Taylor got the message by also sharing it with ESPN viewers.