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Rachel Nichols will no longer appear on ESPN, as the network has canceled her daily program, The Jump, ESPN confirmed to OutKick on Wednesday.
Nichols’ days at ESPN were numbered as soon as Maria Taylor leaked audio of Nichols stated in a private phone conversation with a third party that Taylor got the NBA Countdown job because of her skin color. Nichols was contractually scheduled to take over the Countdown job, but ESPN reneged and decided to appoint Taylor instead.
David Roberts, Senior Vice President, NBA Production, released the following statement on Nichols.
We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned. Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.
We covered the story at length this summer:
Taylor’s skin color was a factor in ESPN’s decision to move her to Countdown. It’s a factor in every one of ESPN’s decisions. Denying it is like saying hot women don’t get free drinks and to cut in line. Looks matter in America, and race matters at ESPN. Ask any agent, manager, or executive off the record if they agree. Jalen Rose may call it “tokenism” if the winning recipient is white.
Taylor didn’t win the job merely because she is black, but in this climate, her skin color didn’t hurt her chances. Her skin color clearly is a factor in contract negotiations, just like it was in Mike Golic’s when ESPN decided to boot him out the door last year.
The spineless leaker didn’t send the Times Nichols’ audio because it was offensive but because it contained leverage.
Taylor killed Nichols’ career in an effort to extort an unreasonable sum of money from ESPN during her own contract negotiations.
ESPN says it will replace The Jump with a new daily NBA show before the start of the season.