Adam Mendelsohn, the longtime adviser to LeBron James, apologized for saying he was “exhausted” by the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements.
LeBron James is a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter.
Mendelsohn, who is white, made the remark in a secretly recorded phone call with ESPN anchor Rachel Nichols in July 2020.
At the time, Nichols was under quarantine at a Walt Disney World resort near the NBA bubble in Orlando, as part of the NBA’s Covid protocol.
Alone in her room, she used an ESPN video camera to host “The Jump” and appear in ESPN’s pregame and post-game shows.
Nichols, who is white, was upset that Black ESPN anchor Maria Taylor (left) was given the 2020 NBA Finals hosting gig. Nichols felt ESPN bosses were “pressured” due to their “crappy” history on diversity.
At some point during the phone call, Mendelsohn said, “I don’t know. I’m exhausted. Between Me Too and Black Lives Matter, I got nothing left.” Nichols laughed, apparently in agreement.
Unbeknownst to Nichols, the video camera in her room was still on and recording her phone call with Mendelsohn. The recording was live-streamed to a server at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., according to the NY Times.
The audio clip was made public by the New York Times in an in-depth article about the racial rift between Nichols and Taylor that was published on Sunday, July 4.
Mendelsohn has since apologized in a statement to CNBC:
“I made a stupid, careless comment rooted in privilege and I am sincerely sorry. I shouldn’t have said it or even thought it. I work to support these movements and know that the people affected by these issues never get to be exhausted or have nothing left. I have to continue to check my privilege and work to be a better ally.”
The leaked audio clip confirmed the suspicions of several Black ESPN employees who believe their white colleagues support Black Lives Matter in public but act differently behind closed doors.