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NBC Sports obviously knows a good opportunity when they see one, and the network is reportedly trying to poach Maria Taylor from ESPN.
Taylor’s contract with ESPN ends July 20, and NBC wants to sign Taylor by July 23 to include her in the network’s Olympic coverage, per Front Office Sports, who say Taylor could become the new host of “Football Night in America.”
Taylor currently hosts the “NBA Countdown.” The sports publication reports that Taylor is seeking $5 million or more but that ESPN has offered to increase her salary to at least $3 million.
Taylor was thrown into the headlines after a conversation between ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and a fellow peer was leaked online.
Nichols accused Taylor of being a diversity hire in the recording after she was snubbed for the NBA finals hosting gig last summer. She was speaking to LeBron James’ advisor Adam Mendelsohn.
“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.”
Nichols received a barrage of backlash online. To try and save her job and her reputation, she quickly delivered an apology live on-air.
But the damage was already done.
ESPN replaced Nichols with Malika Andrews as the sports network’s sideline reporter.
Andrews is also Black.
“We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host The Jump,” ESPN said in a statement.