ESPN has taken sportscaster Rachel Nichols off of its protection of the NBA and canceled The Leap, the basketball-centric every day present she has hosted for 5 years.
The transfer comes about seven weeks after Nichols apologized for complaining in a leaked audio file that then-ESPN colleague Maria Taylor had been named host of ABC’s NBA Countdown, the pregame present for the community’s primetime NBA telecasts.
“We mutually agreed that this strategy relating to our NBA protection was finest for all involved,” stated David Roberts, senior vp manufacturing at ESPN, stated in a press release. “Rachel is a superb reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content material.”
Within the leaked recording from 2020, which which was the topic of a New York Instances story on July 4, Nichols is heard saying, “I want Maria Taylor all of the success on the planet — she covers soccer, she covers basketball. If it’s essential to give her extra issues to do as a result of you’re feeling strain about your crappy longtime file on variety — which, by the way in which, I do know personally from the feminine facet of it — like, go for it. Simply discover it some other place. You aren’t going to seek out it from me or taking my factor away.”
Nichols was subsequently taken off ESPN and ABC’s NBA Finals protection, with Malika Andrews taking her spot as sideline reporter in the course of the sequence.
Taylor departed ESPN shortly afterward for NBC Sports activities, the place she was a part of the community’s Olympics protection and can host Soccer Night time in America in the course of the coming NFL season.
Per Sports activities Enterprise Journal, which first reported the information, Nichols has greater than a 12 months remaining on her contract at ESPN however is unlikely to seem on air.
As for The Leap, it is going to run for the subsequent couple of weeks (with a unique host) earlier than ending. ESPN plans to launch a brand new NBA present previous to the approaching season, which begins on Oct. 19.