Rachel Nichols has reportedly lost her coveted NBA Finals hosting gig amid ongoing racial drama at ESPN.
Nichols will not be at courtside when the Phoenix Suns face the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Finals tonight in Phoenix.
The NBA Finals sideline gig will go to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews (pictured). Andrews checks all of the diversity boxes.
“We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host “The Jump,” ESPN said in a statement on Monday.
Nichols has hosted ESPN’s daily basketball show “The Jump” since 2016.
The drama ensued when Nichols was caught on a hot mic complaining about Black reporter Maria Taylor getting the 2020 NBA Finals gig.
Nichols, who is white, sought advice from Adam Mendelsohn in a secretly recorded phone call at a hotel near the NBA Bubble in Orlando in July 2020.
She accused her bosses of giving Maria Taylor the 2020 NBA Finals gig because of the color of her skin and ESPNS’s “crappy” history of “diversity.”
Unbeknownst to Nichols, a video camera in her hotel room was still on and recording her phone call with Mendelsohn. The recording, which was live-streamed to a server at ESPN’s headquarters, soon made the rounds at ESPN.
Nichols is pictured interviewing actor Michael B. Jordan at the Staples Center on December 25, 2019 in Los Angeles.
She struggled to keep her emotions in check on “The Jump” on Monday, as she apologized profusely to Taylor and ESPN’s viewers.
“So, 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.”