Report details ESPN feud involving Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor amid contract talks
Maria Taylor has seen a rapid career rise in recent years at ESPN, where she now hosts NBA studio coverage, and works as a college football sideline reporter.
But a new report from The New York Times reveals that fellow host Rachel Nichols has reportedly said disparaging remarks about Taylor, who is in contract negotiations with the network.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in July 2020, according to the Times. “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.”
The report suggests that those comments, said to Adam Mendelsohn, the longtime adviser of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and James’s agent, Rich Paul. Nichols was speaking with Mendelsohn to request an interview with James and his Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, whom Paul also represents. Nichols’ side of the conversation was recorded unbeknown to Nichols, as her video camera was on, and the call was being recorded to a server at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
The issue has bubbled up around internal ESPN circles that as the NBA playoffs started in May, the stars of ESPN’s marquee basketball show, “NBA Countdown,” discussed whether they would refuse to appear on it.
Taylor’s contract expires during the NBA finals, which start on Tuesday between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, yet few substantive steps have been taken toward a new deal, the Times reported.