Former ESPN host Rachel Nichols has signed with Showtime where she’ll host and produce NBA-related content.
Nichols released the following statement about her new venture:
“I’ve been so fortunate to live my dream job alongside some of the best journalists in the business for more than 25 years, and this new development deal with Showtime Sports gives me my most broad playing field yet. They’ve asked me to produce, create and host new sports programming across platforms, working alongside Hall of Famers, multiple guys with championship rings and an uber-creative team behind the camera. We’re going to have so much fun.”
Nichols’ name may sound familiar to even non-sports fans. Let us remind you why:
In 2021, ESPN benched and then fired Nichols after she lost a Woke Off to Maria Taylor.
Last year, Taylor turned down a $5 million a year contract offer from ESPN. Taylor, with no audience, demanded she make $12 million a year, on par with Stephen A. Smith. That is not a joke. But because ESPN had already offered her a deal worth $4 million a year more than her market value, a standoff ensued.
Then came the tape.
Someone had obtained a secretly recorded phone call between Rachel Nichols and NBA adviser Adam Mendelsohn during the NBA “Bubble” in 2020. On the private call, Nichols told Mendelsohn ESPN chose Taylor over her to host the NBA Finals on account of diversity. Nichols is white, and Taylor is black.
Despite people in the industry having access to the call for nearly a year, it did not leak until the following summer. The call leaked days after Taylor received her final contract offer from ESPN.
In other words, someone attempted to assist Taylor in her negotiations by releasing the call to the New York Times. The plan was to make Nichols and ESPN look racist, thus prompting the network to pay Taylor more out of fear.
The race-baiters on Twitter and useful idiots in the press were Taylor’s leverage.
Yet the privileged Taylor still declined ESPN’s offer and accepted a contract from NBC Sports instead. That’s how it ended for Taylor. As for Nichols, she got called a racist online. ESPN acted swiftly to these tweets by ending her career at the network.
Though we don’t take sides in Woke Offs, ESPN fired Nichols for telling the truth. Indeed, race was a factor in the decision to choose Taylor over her. It’s a factor in every decision ESPN makes.
How do we know? ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro released a memo saying diversity — not success — is the number one priority at ESPN. He explained that diversity is a factor in all hiring/promotion practices.
Translation: race was a factor in Pitaro’s decision to elevate Taylor over Nichols as host of the Finals.
Furthermore, Nichols had a right to be skeptical. She had covered the NBA for 20 years. Taylor, meanwhile, had covered the NBA for a total of zero days at the time she “won” the job.
Got all that? Because the Woke Off didn’t end there.
After Taylor left and Nichols got the boot, ESPN needed a new NBA host. So, the network replaced Nichols on the daily NBA show with Malika Andrews.
Now, a year later, the same sports Twitter that called for Nichols’ job for being a racist is calling for Andrews’ job for not being black enough.
Not even MSNBC has allowed wokeness to burn the walls to the degree ESPN has.
Good thing there is no Maria Taylor at Showtime to ruin Rachel Nichols anew.