Type to search

Business National News

Maria Taylor taking her talents to NBC Sports


Sports commentator Maria Taylor is taking her talents to a new network and leaving ESPN in her rear view mirror. The 34-year old popular sports reporter, who was at the forefront of the NBA Finals coverage this past week, quickly announced that she was leaving ESPN after the title-clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

After failing to reach an agreement on a new contract with ESPN, Taylor gave the nod to NBC Sports and is headed to a new network. The University of Georgia graduate will jump into NBC’s coverage of the Olympics in Tokyo.

Comments by fellow host Rachel Nichols ignited a battle within ESPN which some say led to Taylor’s exit. Her departure followed a racial controversy over comments by Nichols which were caught on a “hot mic” that seemed to suggested that Taylor was given a higher position at the network only because she is Black. Nichols and Taylor were vying to host pregame and postgame shows during the network’s basketball coverage of the 2020 NBA Finals, a coveted staff position that Taylor was ultimately assigned to by the front office.

While Nichols was covering the NBA bubble in Orlando during the height of the pandemic last July, she was unaware that a video camera was rolling during a phone conversation in which she complained that Taylor had gotten the NBA Finals assignment because ESPN was “feeling pressure” about racial diversity, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.

Nichols comments were recorded and automatically uploaded to an internal server at company headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, where numerous ESPN employees had access to the footage. Soon a cellphone copy of the video was being shared among the staff, sparking widespread outrage behind the scenes. Soon afterwards, the video reached top ESPN officials who ultimately declined to discipline Nichols, which was met with anger from many of its minority employees, including Taylor. ESPN finally removed Nichols as the courtside reporter for the NBA Finals and replaced her with Malika Andrews, which followed months of internal rumblings and threats by some of the network’s biggest on-air personalities to boycott the 2021 playoffs. Nichols, who is white, also apologized during a recent opening of her show “The Jump.” Nichols said, “So the first thing they teach in journalism school is don’t be the story. And I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals, but I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN, how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt — particularly Maria Taylor — and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”

It was reported that Taylor turned down an offer from ESPN that would have paid her nearly $5 million.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *