ESPN has will reportedly cancel its daily NBA show "The Jump" and will remove its host, Rachel Nichols, from future NBA programming, according to multiple reports. The change comes following race-related comments Nichols made regarding former colleague Maria Taylor, although there is no confirmation that was the reason for the shakeup.
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned," ESPN senior vice president for production David Roberts said in a statement to CNBC. "Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content."
Nichols confirmed the news in a tweet Wednesday, saying "The Jump was never built to last forever" and that there was "More to come…"
Sports Business Journal, which was first to report the news, said Nichols remains under contract.
A New York Times report in July detailed comments Nichols made about Taylor last year during the NBA’s restart in Florida. Nichols, who is white, was introduced in September 2019 as the NBA Finals host but the network later decided to promote Taylor, who is Black.
Nichols said in an accidentally recorded phone call obtained by the Times: “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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 apologized July 5 while hosting “The Jump.” She was slated to be the sideline reporter for the Finals, but was pulled off the assignment.
This is Nichols' second stint with ESPN. She was prominent in the network's NFL and NBA coverage before leaving for Turner Sports in 2013. She returned to ESPN in 2016 when "The Jump" was launched.
Taylor departed ESPN last month after failing to reach a contract agreement. Within days, she was hired by NBC and quickly began co-hosting the network's "Prime Plus" Olympics coverage from Tokyo.
NBC also said that Taylor will be a host and contributor for “Football Night in America” on Sundays during NFL season and will host the network's coverage of this season's Super Bowl.