Cable sports network ESPN on Wednesday announced that it will be pulling reported Rachel Nichols from its NBA coverage and cancelling her show 'The Jump'. This comes a month after her call recording, in which she was heard making comments on her former colleague Maria Taylor and the network's diversity program, was leaked.
"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," said David Roberts, ESPN's senior vice president of production.
The reporter, who has been a sports journalist and broadcaster since the 1990s, took to Instagram to write, "Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people talking about one my favorite things. The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. More to come."
The leaked audio:
In July, the New York Times reported on Rachel Nichols' leaked audio. She could be heard saying her former colleague Taylor was only chosen to be the sideline reporter for last year's NBA Finals because she is Black.
"If you need to give her more things to do because you're feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity - which, by the way, I myself know personally - like, go for it, just find it somewhere else," she said in the recording.
After the leak, ESPN sidelined Nichols for the NBA championship series coverage. However, she continued to cover the series on 'The Jump'.
She had apologised for the comments. "I also don't want to let this moment pass without saying how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor," she said on her show. Taylor left ESPN last month.
Although Nichols will not be featuring in ESPN's programmes, she still remains under contract with ESPN for at least another year, the person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.