Rachel Nichols apologizes to Maria Taylor live on air after release of hot mic tape

Rachel Nichols apologized to ESPN colleague Maria Taylor on air Monday after a hot mic clip revealed her complaining that Taylor got the NBA Finals hosting gig last year for “diversity” reasons.

“So the first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story. And I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals,” Nichols said in the opening of the show “The Jump” which airs on ESPN 2. “But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”

The clip in question dates back to July 2020, when Nichols was speaking with Adam Mendelsohn, an advisor for NBA star LeBron James. Nichols was unaware that she was being recorded and the clip was uploaded to an ESPN server.

“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world, she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said. “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.”

“I just want them to go somewhere else, it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing,” she continued.

Some ESPN employees were outraged by Nichols’ comments, describing the lack of punishment for her as “an active source of pain.”

Nichols is currently in a contract dispute with ESPN, as her current contract is set to run out this month. Both parties are said to be “millions” apart from one another in terms of future compensation for Nichols.