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ESPN slammed for ‘wokeism,’ mismanagement over Rachel Nichols saga: ‘Dealt with in a spectacularly poor method’

ESPN has been crushed by critics because the community basically canceled widespread NBA reporter and studio host Rachel Nichols, with some mocking the community over “woke” politics and others slamming community executives’ botched dealing with of the weird scenario. 

ESPN canceled Nichols’ present, “The Soar,” on Wednesday and it has since been reported that she won’t seem on air at some stage in her contract.

“The woke police discovering one other sufferer, cancel tradition has come ESPN’s personal red-haired NBA star Rachel Nichols. She is not any extra,” Outkick founder Clay Travis mentioned in a video responding to the information that ESPN ditched Nichols. 

“She is going to stop to exist at ESPN,” Travis mentioned. “What this represents to me, is ESPN additional following within the footsteps of the woke universe.”

ESPN has been crushed by critics since the network essentially canceled popular NBA reporter and studio host Rachel Nichols. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

ESPN has been crushed by critics because the community basically canceled widespread NBA reporter and studio host Rachel Nichols. (AP Photograph/Paul Sancya) ((AP Photograph/Paul Sancya, File))


Nichols’ standing at ESPN began to crumble when The New York Instances reported on July four that she had made feedback about Maria Taylor, who’s Black, on a sizzling mic when she didn’t know a non-public cellphone dialog inside her personal resort room was being recorded in July 2020. Nichols was venting to a buddy that she was sad ESPN changed her with Taylor for the community’s protection of the 2020 NBA Finals. 

“I want Maria Taylor all of the success on the planet. She covers soccer, she covers basketball,” Nichols was heard telling LeBron James’s advisor Adam Mendelsohn. 

“If you must give her extra issues to do as a result of you’re feeling strain about your crappy longtime document on variety — which, by the way in which, I do know personally from the feminine facet of it — like, go for it. Simply discover it elsewhere. You aren’t going to search out it from me or taking my issues away,” Nichols instructed Mendelsohn. “This job is in my contract in writing.”

The dialog had been identified about by ESPN staff and executives since July 2020 however wasn’t made public till the Instances report in July 2021. Taylor, who was within the midst of contract negotiations when the tape was leaked to the Instances, has since left ESPN for NBC Sports activities. 

Travis identified that Nichols spent years telling viewers in regards to the “woke bona fides of the NBA” however she merely wasn’t thought of “woke sufficient” for ESPN, as complaining a couple of Black colleague was frowned upon as soon as the tape grew to become public 12 months after community executives first heard the feedback. 

“She lectured America on how courageous the NBA was after they pulled their All-Star Sport out of Charlotte, North Carolina over a rest room invoice that was alleged to focus on transgender people even whereas the NBA continued to play basketball all all over the world in nations comparable to China,” Travis mentioned. “That is the place individuals who embrace wokeism in the end go. You might be, in some unspecified time in the future in time, going to be canceled in case you are not woke sufficient and you’re employed in sports activities.”


Travis feels ESPN is catering to a tiny subset of sports activities followers who imagine that sports activities ought to be intertwined with far-left politics. 

“They’re making it clear that in case you are not woke sufficient, even in the event you had beforehand been a woke disciple like Rachel Nichols, too unhealthy,” Travis mentioned. “The lesson is obvious: you’re both woke otherwise you’re fired. You higher preserve your mouth shut until you agree with far left-wing politics infiltrating sports activities.” 

NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck agrees with Travis and feels the Nichols debacle is “a reminder that backstabbing and feigning outrage are rewarded” within the fashionable period of wokeness and cancel tradition. 

“This complete saga has been probably the most haphazard and maddening you may ever see and it is a huge stain on ESPN. Nonetheless, they may have discovered nothing and can proceed with its full-court press to even additional wokeness,” Houck instructed Fox Information. 

“Nichols was something however a conservative and as an alternative a liberal. However her lengthy profession having given the whole lot to ESPN and their NBA protection was summarily solid apart by ESPN as if she was some kind of crude or violent heathen,” Houck continued. “To jettison Nichols within the identify of race and harm emotions on Taylor’s half was the epitome of disloyalty.” 

Houck mentioned the therapy of Nichols isn’t how a “sane firm” would deal with a longtime worker, not to mention anybody. 

“This dumpster hearth made clear to the world that pure benefit would not matter to the so-called Worldwide Chief in Sports activities,” Houck mentioned. 


New York Submit sports activities media columnist Andrew Marchand shredded the sports activities community in a column headlined, “ESPN embarrassed itself through the Rachel Nichols saga.” Marchand didn’t blame politics for the debacle, as an alternative pointing to mismanagement by ESPN executives who he feels botched the scenario from the start. 

Rachel Nichols was caught venting about Maria Taylor during a private phone call that she didn’t know was being recorded by ESPN. (Getty Images)

Rachel Nichols was caught venting about Maria Taylor throughout a non-public cellphone name that she didn’t know was being recorded by ESPN. (Getty Pictures) (Joe Murphy/NBAE by way of Getty Pictures)

Marchand reported that ESPN pays Nichols the roughly $2 million remaining on her contract because of public backlash to her leaked, personal dialog regardless of not disciplining her in any respect when community executives first discovered in regards to the taped cellphone name. 

“Greater than a yr in the past, ESPN didn’t do something of substance about Nichols’ feedback after they first came upon about them. Nothing. Nada,” Marchand wrote.


ESPN executives didn’t enable Nichols and Taylor to seem on air collectively as soon as they heard in regards to the personal name internally, however didn’t in any other case reprimand Nichols. The Submit columnist defined that ESPN even promoted an government whose job it was to make peace between Nichols and Taylor, however the two by no means made up. The community solely pulled Nichols from the sideline of the 2021 NBA Finals after the personal name was leaked to the Instances. 

“Who this made sense to was by no means precisely clear,” Marchand wrote. 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has contemplated why ESPN didn’t squash the meat previous to the Finals and appeared to assist Nichols. “Careers shouldn’t be erased by a single remark,” he mentioned throughout his Finals press convention. 

ESPN is companions with the NBA and sometimes would take heed to Silver, and Nichols remained on air following the Finals. She coated the NBA’s offseason transaction regularly till she was instantly tossed apart on Wednesday. 

“If there isn’t any secret settlement stopping any authorized motion, Nichols could have a case to sue,” Marchand wrote, noting Nichols’ leaked, personal name occurred in Florida and ESPN recorded it on a server in Connecticut.

“Each states are two-party consent, which means each events should know a taped cellphone dialog is happening. On this circumstance, there’s some authorized fuzziness,” Marchand wrote. “ESPN wouldn’t reply a query relating to whether or not they had paid Nichols extra so she wouldn’t sue them.”

ESPN declined to remark when requested the identical query by Fox Information. 


“We mutually agreed that this method relating to our NBA protection was finest for all involved. Rachel is a superb reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content material,” ESPN senior vice chairman of manufacturing David Roberts instructed Fox Information, ignoring whether or not or not Nichols was paid to keep away from authorized motion. 

“Nichols introduced this upon herself. However from [ ESPN chairman Jimmy] Pitaro on down, ESPN executives failed,” Marchand wrote. “They saved Nichols and Taylor aside. Now, they’re each gone. The entire thing was dealt with in a spectacularly poor method.” 

Fox Information’ Daniel Canova contributed to this report.  


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