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ESPN cancels Rachel Nichols’ present, pulls her from NBA protection following race controversy

ESPN sideline reporter, Rachel Nichols experiences the sport throughout Sport three of the Western Convention Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 24, 2021 at STAPLES Middle in Los Angeles, California.

Jim Poorten | Nationwide Basketball Affiliation | Getty Photos

ESPN will cancel its present hosted by Rachel Nichols and pull the longtime reporter from NBA protection amid ongoing backlash to race-related feedback she made about former colleague Maria Taylor, the community confirmed Wednesday.

ESPN will pull Nichols’ weekday present “The Soar,” and plans to interchange it with new NBA content material. It’s unclear when this system will go off the air.

“We mutually agreed that this strategy relating to our NBA protection was finest for all involved. Rachel is a wonderful reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content material,” ESPN senior vp for manufacturing David Roberts mentioned in an announcement.

Nichols appeared to verify her present’s cancelation Wednesday. In a tweet, she mentioned, “The Soar was by no means constructed to final without end however it positive was enjoyable.”

She added: “Extra to return …”

A New York Occasions report in July revealed the feedback Nichols made a 12 months earlier to Adam Mendelsohn, an advisor to NBA famous person LeBron James, which made waves within the Walt Disney-owned firm and pro-basketball world.

In remarks captured on video with out her information, Nichols indicated she thought Taylor received a job internet hosting ESPN’s pregame and postgame protection of the 2020 NBA Finals as a result of she is Black and the community was attempting to enhance its document on variety.

“If it’s good to give her extra issues to do as a result of you’re feeling stress about your crappy longtime document on variety — which, by the best way, I do know personally from the feminine aspect of it — like, go for it,” Nichols, who’s white, mentioned in audio revealed by the Occasions.

“Simply discover it someplace else. You aren’t going to seek out it from me or taking my factor away,” she mentioned.

Following the Occasions report, ESPN benched Nichols throughout 2021 NBA Finals protection. After a short hiatus, she resumed internet hosting “The Soar.”

After the audio of her feedback surfaced, Nichols apologized to Taylor on air.

Taylor left ESPN earlier this 12 months after she failed to succeed in a contract extension with the community. She joined NBC Sports activities and was a number and correspondent through the Summer season Olympic Video games in Tokyo.

Disclosure: CNBC father or mother NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports activities and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer season and Winter Video games by way of 2032.

— CNBC’s Steve Kopack contributed to this report

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