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ESPN fired Rachel Nichols in 2021 after a mole leaked a privately-recorded phone call in which she attributed race to the network promoting Maria Taylor over her as the host of the NBA Finals.
Nichols was not wrong in her assessment. ESPN chose Taylor, a black woman, over Nichols, a white woman, at a time of heightened racial tensions following the death of George Floyd.
Nichols’ then-boss, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, all but admitted he chose Taylor because of her race by declaring diversity the No. 1 priority inside ESPN.
Still, ESPN fired Nichols for noticing the reason it elected a host with no experience covering the NBA over herself with over two decades of experience.
On the surface, the saga should have made Nichols a sympathetic figure. She had the job written in her contract. She was the best candidate for the job.
Nichols was, by definition, a victim of racism.
On the other hand, Nichols spent the months prior shilling for the so-called racial reckoning, which presumes that society must discriminate against certain racial groups to reach racial impartiality..
In short, the very causes Nichols supported cost her her job.
As Clay Travis noted at the time, “Rachel Nichols tried to keep up with wokeism and still got canceled.”
Three years later, she is still trying to keep up. Nichols is now a progressive sports anchor for CNN and Showtime. Over the weekend, she feigned outrage over the Orlando Magic donating $50,000 to a super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign.
She joined Jim Acosta, another beauty, for the following exchange:
“Yeah, Jim, I’ve covered the NBA for more than 25 years. I’ve never seen it. And now, of course, we have seen team owners, players, management all individually support political candidates.
“Marc Lasry, the former owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, was one of President Obama’s chief fundraisers. We have had Kelly Loeffler, I’m sure you remember her, former U.S. senator, who was a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. Since she was not supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, her players went out, fundraised, and supported her opponent, now Senator Raphael Warnock.
“And all of those are examples of individuals supporting their political candidates. In fact, the co-owner of the Magic, Betsy DeVos, as we know, was Trump’s education secretary. She’s an individual. What upsets these players so much is that this donation was not made on behalf of Betsy DeVos or Dick DeVos. It was made on behalf of the team.
“And you have players and coaches and executives who have come out publicly with very different beliefs and opinions than DeSantis’s, and now their names are being used in association with this donation.
“And more importantly, as the Players Association statement pointed out, it’s their labor. Money for NBA teams, the Orlando Magic’s money that they donated to Ron DeSantis, doesn’t come from a magic tree elf. It came from the work of those players on the court. And the fact that their work has been turned into a contribution for someone running for president who has come out with statements that they think directly oppose who they are as people, that is very difficult to stomach.“
Rachel Nichols seems bothered that a team would support the governor in its state, one who won re-election in a landslide last November. In fact, Floridians overwhelmingly support DeSantis as governor today, even if his presidential campaign continues to teeter.
Nichols was fortunate she sat across from Acosta. A more polished and credible anchor would have pressed her on the comment that DeSantis opposes who NBA players are as men.
DeSantis has criticized the NBA. He did so just last week, in response to the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) calling donations to his campaign “alarming.”
“It appears the NBA took a break from protesting our anthem and bending the knee to Communist China to chirp about my policies,” DeSantis tweeted Friday.
DeSantis’ criticism is valid. It has been for years.
Forty principal owners in the NBA have a combined $10 billion tied up in Chinese investments. The NBA and its players have long ignored the genocide that takes place in China against Muslim Uyghurs while chastising American society.
As have NBA media members. Including Nichols, herself.
Notably, Nichols urged the NBA to pull its All-Star Game from North Carolina over a transgender bathroom bill. Yet she would not address the atrocities in China as she hosted NBA coverage on-site from the site from Shanghai in 2019.
To the NBA, its players, and its media members — China is off-limits, not to be covered journalistically.
Ultimately, Nichols and the NBA players are not upset that a team donated to a presidential candidate. Rather, they are troubled that a team would support a Republican candidate who has challenged Disney and the CCP, groups to whom the NBA has bent the knee.