The controversy surrounding ESPN’s “diversity” policies came back to bite them on June 14th after a leaked video exposed host Rachel Nichols making comments regarding “diversity” and her colleague Maria Taylor being issued an assignment that she was allegedly entitled to under contract. In the leaked video taken by someone at ESPN via Nichols’ live-stream rig in her hotel room without her knowledge, Nichols can be heard discussing her ESPN contract with Adam Mendelsohn.
According to The New York Post, Nichols offending comment which brought her so much trouble was this one to Mendelsohn,
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in the clip. “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.”
Naturally, over the subsequent days, the leftist mainstream media were out for blood. It was a feeding frenzy and Nichols did the one thing you absolutely can never do in a situation like this… she apologized. Publicly.
Rachel Nichols opening comments on Monday’s live episode of “The Jump”: pic.twitter.com/VpI826k0pp
— Meg Turner (@megnturner_) July 5, 2021
Maria Taylor chose to leave ESPN anyhow to join NBC Sports following contract negotiations that fell through. Nichols as of this writing is still hosting The Jump on ESPN, but this episode is likely to remain a hindrance to her career for quite some time. The scandal has since resulted in ESPN taking away Nichol’s coveted sideline assignment.
ESPN Leadership Responds With Woke Leaked Memo
Chairman Jimmy Pitaro has waded into the fray trying to perform some kind of ‘woke’ damage control and it feeds directly into the same horrendous feedback loop of derision and confirmation that the leftists on Twitter crave.
It does nothing but send a clear signal to everyone watching, that ESPN has long ago… bent the knee. They will not defend their employees and will bow to the cancel-culture mob.
The New York Post wrote, “The leaked memo obtained by The Post addressed staff concerns about ESPN’s commitment to “diversity, inclusion and belonging,” and laid out a workplace goal “to improve the experiences of Black employees at ESPN” through the network’s BECE program (Black Employee and Consumer Experience initiative).
“We respect and acknowledge there are a variety of feelings about what happened and the actions we took,” Pitaro wrote, noting that “the details of what took place last year are confidential, nuanced and complicated personnel matters.”
He continued, “I do want to be clear on one thing: Maria Taylor was selected as NBA Countdown host last year because she earned it,” the ESPN chairman declared. “Please know our commitment is that assignments and opportunities at ESPN are based on merit and any concerns, remarks, or inferences that suggest otherwise have been and will continue to be addressed.”
The memo went on to attest plaintively that at ESPN, “63% of our executive leadership team are women and/or people of color.” and that “everyone owns inclusion,” The network will be addressing “diversity and inclusion” at an upcoming ESPN townhall and they will “continue to have focused conversations with the Black and African American community at ESPN in the coming weeks.”