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“NBA Countdown” host Maria Taylor has been accused by her white colleague, Rachel Nichols, of landing the job just because she is Black — and not because of her undeniable talents.
Nichols is choosing to ignore Taylor’s resume.
In 2021, white fragility remains at an all-time high. And while the lack of diversity is still a crucial issue across the board when Black talent is selected over their white counterparts… the fact that they do have talent and have worked hard to secure a position doesn’t even occur to their salty colleagues.
Nichols is that salty colleague.
In a leaked video recording, Nichols whines about Taylor after learning that she would not host coverage during the 2020 NBA finals — and that Taylor would.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in July 2020 via the New York Times.
“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.”
According to The New York Times, the video was recorded and stored on ESPN’s servers. An employee made a recording of the audio with their cell phone leaking it to others within the company.
In another part of the conversation, Nichols slammed ESPN further: “Those same people — who are, like, generally white conservative male Trump voters — is part of the reason I’ve had a hard time at ESPN,” Nichols said. “I basically finally just outworked everyone for so long that they had to recognize it. I don’t want to then be a victim of them trying to play catch-up for the same damage that affected me in the first place, you know what I mean. So I’m trying to just be nice.”
When questioned by the publication, Nichols blamed the employee who made the recording. She says it was a conversation with a friend and that she was complaining about the sports network’s process and not about Taylor.
“My own intentions in that conversation, and the opinion of those in charge at ESPN, are not the sum of what matters here — if Maria felt the conversation was upsetting, then it was, and I was the cause of that for her,” she said in a statement to the outlet.
She says that since the news broke, she has tried to reach out to Taylor.
“Maria has chosen not to respond to these offers, which is completely fair and a decision I respect,” Nichols said.
ESPN denies that Taylor was a diversity hire.