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WNBA legend Dawn Staley says her historic seven-year, $22.4 million contract is a "glimpse of hope for all women."

Staley, head coach for the South Carolina University women's basketball team, is the highest-paid Black women's coach in NCAA women's sports.

"I think this is an opportunity for us to have a broader conversation on how much women get paid on the dollar versus their male counterparts and many Black women get paid to their white counterparts and men," Staley said.

"Having to fight for what I think is justifiable, it is a fight that many women across this country fight for every single day. Maybe it's a glimpse of hope of one day getting what they deserve."

 
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The 5x WNBA All-Star said she had a set annual figure in her mind when she went in to negotiate her contract.

"They could've said no," said Staley. "They could've said no, we're not willing to invest in you that way, we pay you pretty good and that's what you'll get. But they wanted to be a part of history."

Staley, 51, led the Gamecocks to a 2017 NCAA Championship and South Carolina women's basketball team finished in the top 25 in each of the last 10 seasons.

Staley's stellar career includes three Olympic gold medals.

"What a great gift this game has given me," Staley said. "I feel like I owe basketball. I am coaching to repay my debt to basketball. It is a gift that keeps on giving."

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Maria Taylor is leaving ESPN after failing to reach a salary agreement with the sports network before her contract expired.

Taylor, who had been with ESPN since 2014, taped her last segment with ESPN's "NBA Countdown" on Tuesday night. Her contract expired on Tuesday.

Taylor and ESPN discussed contract negotiations for a year before she departed. The network originally offered her $5 million before the Covid pandemic shut down the country in 2020.

Last month ESPN offered Taylor $3 million - three times her salary at the time.

Taylor was virtually unknown until Rachel Nichols catapulted her into the national spotlight.

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The New York Times published an article detailing a secretly recorded phone call made by colleague Rachel Nichols griping about Taylor's diversity promotion.

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Nichols, who is white, was upset at losing the 2020 NBA Finals hosting gig to Taylor because she was Black.

Nichols said:

"I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away."

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Maria Taylor may get the last laugh amid the Rachel Nichols racial diversity scandal.

In 2020, Nichols accused her bosses of giving Maria Taylor the 2020 NBA Finals hosting gig because of the color of her skin and ESPNS's "crappy" history of "diversity."

Nichols made the comments during a phone call in the privacy of her hotel room at the NBA Bubble in Orlando last year.

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In the recording Nichols is heard saying, "Hey, instead of hosting the NBA Finals, like why don't you do Doris' [Burke] sideline reporter job for the NBA Finals? 'Cause guess what that would clear the way for? For Maria to do the hosting full time. So, I have declined."

However, the call was secretly recorded and leaked to the NY Times which published an explosive article about the audio clip on July 3.

Nichols, who is white, apologized to Taylor via email and text but Taylor, who is Black, didn't respond.

Nichols struggled to maintain her composure as she apologized profusely during an episode of "The Jump" on ESPN.

But Nichols was told she would not be at courtside when the Phoenix Suns took on the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals. The sideline gig went to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews who checks all of the diversity boxes.

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Now comes word that Taylor has been offered $3 million to stay on as ESPN anchor after her contract expires in two weeks.

According to reports, Taylor has only days to accept the $3 million offer -- which is three times her current salary.

If Taylor declines the raise, Amazon and NBC Sports have expressed an interest in hiring her.