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Weekly newsletter of Satubulan65 - Issue #1

Weekly newsletter of Satubulan65
Weekly newsletter of Satubulan65
ESPN removes Rachel Nichols from NBA Finals coverage after comments leak

ESPN removes Rachel Nichols from NBA Finals coverage after comments leak
Rachel Nichols Out for N.B.A. Finals Coverage on ABC
Comments made by Nichols that were caught on tape caused tremendous upheaval within ESPN over the past year. Nichols, who is white, suggested that a Black colleague, Maria Taylor, had been selected for a marquee job because of her race.
ESPN, Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor all look bad in this drama
It is hard to figure out who looks the worst in the whole ESPN-Rachel Nichols-Maria Taylor drama, but let’s give it a whirl.
It starts with ESPN management. The Nichols comments — taped illegally or not — were known for a year throughout the top executive ranks. It was an open wound.
Instead of actually addressing it, they let it linger, trying passive-aggressive Band-Aids until now, after a New York Times story.
The result is Nichols’ ESPN career is in jeopardy and Taylor may follow her out the door.
Even on Tuesday, there was no show of strength from ESPN. First, ESPN took Nichols off the NBA Finals sideline, while initially saying that Nichols would continue to host “The Jump,” her weekday program. Then, “The Jump” did not air. ESPN says it will give “The Jump” a try on Wednesday.
Oh, this is all while a little thing called the NBA Finals is going on.
Nichols, 47, is known as hard-working, political and territorial. These are not uncommon traits at the top of sports TV.
She rose on TV as a sideline reporter, developing strong enough relationships with star players so they all stopped for postgame interviews, which is the main skill for the position.
On Nichols’ daily show, “The Jump,” she had created a well-received meeting place for the NBA. A former newspaper writer, she has now become sort of a part of the league, as much as covering it.
While it is easy to pile on her, she did have a signed contract that said she was the host of the NBA Finals before it was yanked away without much of a reason.
Her private conversation emanated from Florida and was recorded in Connecticut. Both states have two-party consent laws, meaning anyone on a phone line must agree to being taped.
And, while what she said was demeaning, insensitive and hypocritical, her comments seem more like a misdemeanor than a felony.
But ESPN management did her no favors by allowing a wound to become infected, failing to act in any significant way, except appeasing Taylor’s request to not have them appear together on-air. By doing so, ESPN let others control the narrative — and now has completely lost any semblance of it.
While Nichols and Taylor have been rivals, they aren’t that different. Taylor is the superior host, smoother and more polished. But Taylor has proven adroit at working angles, too, to borrow a phrase, in the “snake pit” that is the corporate ESPN.
In her seven years at ESPN, Taylor has been relentlessly promoted. Taylor, 34, has risen to be the college football national championship sideline reporter, the host of the NCAA Women’s Tournament and NBA Finals. She makes $1 million a year, but, as The Post reported last week, her contract is up on July 20 and she hopes to land in the “Stephen A. Smith” neighborhood of $8 million a year. ESPN at one point had a deal that would eventually reach close to $5 million on the table.
NBC could have interest in her to replace Mike Tirico next year as the host of “Football Night in America.” Amazon also likes her work.
Maybe Taylor owes Nichols nothing, but she could have put out this fire, if she had wanted to, as well. Over the past several days, Nichols has publicly said she has tried to talk to Taylor, but Taylor has decided against dialogue.
ESPN’s leaders were too weak to force them into a room and hash it all out as adults. A mistake they all should regret.
“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. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away,” Nichols said on the recording The Times was given.
She added, “I just want them to go somewhere else — it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing.”
Now, Taylor’s contract is up. She and ESPN have not seen eye-to-eye on the numbers.
ESPN decided to take Nichols’ sideline job away. They already took back her hosting role. The whole mismanagement has put in question whether she will be able to cover the league she loves.
The soap opera has sports media and beyond gawking, it is unsurprising and preventable. From management to Nichols to Taylor, they all could have stopped this out-of-control spiral.
Rachel Nichols’ Show ‘The Jump’ Replaced On ESPN Tuesday Schedule Just Hours Before Start Of NBA Finals
On the day of the start of the NBA Finals, ESPN’s premiere daily NBA show was missing from the network’s schedule. Instead, according to the New York Post, viewers who tuned in on Tuesday found the two-man team of Jalen & Jacoby, who are usually The Jump‘s lead-in. A subsequent Jump schedule spot was filled by the network’s Highly Questionable.
According to Post media columnist Andrew Marchand, “the plan is to have it on tomorrow.”
The scheduling changes came just minutes after ESPN announced Tuesday that Maria Taylor will be hosting the network’s pregame and halftime shows for the NBA Finals. Those duties have been at the center of a controversy involving comments made by Rachel Nichols, host of The Jump, about Taylor potentially assuming the Finals hosting role.
The rolling controversy has now enveloped one of the network’s signature shows — on which Nichols already apologized Monday. Given that, it is unclear how her return might be stage managed. And with Taylor leading coverage of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns tonight, the timing is not fortuitous.
The scheduling changes came just minutes after ESPN announced Tuesday that Maria Taylor will be hosting the network’s pregame and halftime shows for the NBA Finals. Those duties have been at the center of a controversy involving comments made by Rachel Nichols, host of The Jump, about Taylor potentially assuming the Finals hosting role.
The rolling controversy has now enveloped one of the network’s signature shows — on which Nichols already apologized Monday. Given that, it is unclear how her return might be stage managed. And with Taylor leading coverage of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns tonight, the timing is not fortuitous.
The scheduling changes came just minutes after ESPN announced Tuesday that Maria Taylor will be hosting the network’s pregame and halftime shows for the NBA Finals. Those duties have been at the center of a controversy involving comments made by Rachel Nichols, host of The Jump, about Taylor potentially assuming the Finals hosting role.
The rolling controversy has now enveloped one of the network’s signature shows — on which Nichols already apologized Monday. Given that, it is unclear how her return might be stage managed. And with Taylor leading coverage of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns tonight, the timing is not fortuitous.
Likewise, ESPN also announced on Tuesday that Nichols no longer will be the network’s sideline reporter for the Finals, a position she held last year and during big games this season. That role will go to the network’s very capable NBA reporter, Malika Andrews.
Taylor’s ascension might put pressure on the network in another way, however. If the series goes to a seventh game, the New York Times reports Taylor’s contract with ESPN “expires near the end of the finals, and to date the two sides are not close on a renewal.” In fact, after being offered $5 million the host reportedly wants $7 million, a salary range the network reserves for its very top stars, such as Stephen A. Smith.
One ray of NBA Finals hope for ESPN is the fact that the Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo “has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable” for tonight’s game, according to Andrews. An epic performance by Antetokounmpo — or even just a good series — would go a long way toward redirecting viewers’ attention from the broadcast booth back on the court.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols out of NBA Finals coverage on ABC
Rachel Nichols, who was expected to be ABC’s sideline reporter for the NBA Finals, will not work that role when the first game of the series tips off Tuesday night, ESPN announced. She will be replaced by Malika Andrews.
Nichols was the sideline reporter for the finals last year and during ESPN’s most important NBA games this season. Both ABC and ESPN are owned by Disney. “We believe this is the best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals,” ESPN said in a statement.
The decision to have Andrews be the sideline reporter instead was made after The New York Times reported that Nichols, who is white, made disparaging comments about a Black colleague, Maria Taylor, last year. Among other things, Nichols said that Taylor was picked to host NBA Finals coverage last season because ESPN was “feeling pressure” about diversity.
The comments were made during a private phone conversation while she was quarantined in a hotel last July before the NBA resumed its season in Florida. She was speaking with Adam Mendelsohn, the adviser and political strategist who works closely with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. The phone call was accidentally captured on camera and uploaded to a server at the company’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, then spread widely among ESPN employees.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols told Mendelsohn during the call. “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. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
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There have been wide-ranging discussions about the comments inside and outside ESPN over the past two days, including former employees and even NBA players weighing in. Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant tweeted in support of Taylor, while some former high-profile ESPN employees — including Dan Le Batard and Jemele Hill — discussed the matter on Le Batard’s show Tuesday morning.
In a sign of the sprawling complexity of the scandal, commentators have weighed in on numerous topics including ESPN’s discipline and management as well as the apparent friendship and professional relationship between Nichols and Mendelsohn. Some focused on the privacy issues at play with the recorded phone call. Others, in a discussion about white privilege and career advancement, raised that Nichols is related by marriage to famed broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer and Academy Award-winning director Mike Nichols.
Rachel Nichols hosted an episode of “The Jump” on Monday, and ESPN said earlier Tuesday that she will host the show on weekdays from the sites of the games throughout the finals. But although “The Jump” was listed on television schedules to air on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. Eastern Tuesday afternoon, the show “Jalen & Jacoby” aired instead.
Rachel Nichols hosted an episode of “The Jump” on Monday, and ESPN said earlier Tuesday that she will host the show on weekdays from the sites of the games throughout the finals. But although
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