ESPN announced the network is canceling The Jump and pulling host Rachel Nichols from all NBA coverage amid the backlash from Nichols race-related comments about former ESPN reporter Maria Taylor.
“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,” ESPN senior vice president for production David Roberts said in a statement.
Nichols started The Jump in 2016 and alluded to the show being canceled in a Tweet posted Wednesday.
“Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favourite people talking about one of my favourite things. An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew- The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. More to come.”
Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people ❤️ talking about one my favorite things 🏀 An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew – The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. 😎
More to come… pic.twitter.com/FPMFRlfJin
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 25, 2021
On the recording, Nichols is speaking with longtime LeBron James advisor Adam Mendelsohn and insinuating that Taylor was given the job (hosting ESPN’s pregame and postgame coverage of the 2020 NBA Finals) because she was Black.
“If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity, which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it, like, go for it,” Nichols, said on the recording published by the New York Times.
“Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away,” she said.
Nichols apologized to Taylor after the New York Times story and was removed from the 2021 Finals coverage.
Taylor left ESPN and took a job with NBC.