With the return of the NBA season only a few months away, ESPN is shuffling its deck when it comes to its related content on the channel. In a report first shared by Sports Business Journal, Rachel Nichols, the network’s longtime NBA host and courtside reporter, has been removed from coverage of the sport.
Her weekday show, The Jump, has also been canceled, which was confirmed by ESPN Wednesday, Aug. 25.
David Roberts, senior vice president of production at ESPN, said in a statement to CNN Business that the sides “mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned.”
The news comes a month after Nichols made controversial statements that were recorded during a phone call with an associate. The not-so-private conversation from 2020 in which Nichols, who is white, implied that another NBA analyst, Maria Taylor, who is Black, was chosen to lead last year’s NBA Finals coverage because of the company’s diversity efforts.
The blowback after the recording was released was immediate, as fellow ESPN analysts Jalen Rose and Adrian Wojnarowski supported Taylor as an on-the-court reporter for the championship series.
Nichols quickly apologized on air, during an episode of The Jump, saying how “deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor.”
Taylor, whose contract was up for renegotiation, decided to part ways with ESPN after both sides could not come to an agreement, according to the network.
Nichols, who still has more than a year left on her contract, took a moment to thank her crew from The Jump.
“[I] got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people, talking about one [of] my favorite things,” Nichols tweeted. “An eternal thank you to our amazing producers [and] crew — ‘The Jump’ was never built to last forever but it sure was fun.”
Nichols ended the tweet, writing, “More to come…” which notes that she may have another show in the works.
With Nichols’ and Taylor’s exits from ESPN, the network looks to greatly overhaul its NBA coverage. Roberts, who will also take over the network’s productions regarding the league, has yet to make any significant announcements, but that is sure to come as we inch closer to pre-season.