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“I Was Being Spied Like Their Own Personal TV Show”: Rachel Nichols Relives Ugly Fallout With ESPN

Arjun Julka
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"I Was Being Spied Like Their Own Personal TV Show": Rachel Nichols Relives Ugly Fallout With ESPN

Senior journalist and The Jump host, Rachel Nichols, gives a detailed account of her fallout with broadcasting giant ESPN.

Fans of Rachel Nichols finally have a reason to rejoice, with her officially signing with Showtime Sports. After missing from the media radar for over a year, the former ESPN personality will be donning the hat of both host and producer, having a multi-platform role.

Nichols is one of the most respected journalists in the business, having twenty-five years of experience in the field. Primarily known for expertise in the NBA, the former Northwestern University graduate’s brainchild, The Jump, was one of the most successful and well-reputed shows on ESPN.

Unfortunately, her relationship with the sports broadcasting giant hit rock bottom during the time of the 2021 NBA Finals. In what many believe was ESPN’s way of throwing Nichols under the bus. It all began with a conversation between her and LeBron James’ advisor Adam Mendelsohn getting leaked.

Also read: “Malika Andrews Has Lost All of My Support”: Rachel Nichols Has NBA Twitter Feeling Divisive Over Showtime Deal

Prior to all these happenings, Nichols was officially bestowed with the opportunity of covering the 2021 NBA Finals, which she termed her ‘dream job.’ However, fate had other plans, with a telephonic conversation of The Jump host being leaked, which involved her throwing shade at ESPN, who wanted her to step down from hosting the Finals, with Maria Taylor replacing her.

At the time, the United States was undergoing turmoil time with the pandemic and the unfortunate death of George Floyd. The issue of racism was at its peak, with there being public outrage and protests all over the country. Sensitive to the issue many companies and industries planned to promote racial diversity, with ESPN being one of them, who were called out for being insensitive on the subject.

Thus the executives thought of righting this wrong, which included giving more opportunities to people of other races. This began with coaxing Nichols to step down from her role of covering the Finals and going back to being a sideline reporter, something she didn’t welcome.

The former ESPN reporter would share this development with Mendelsohn, unaware of her conversation being recorded by a fellow colleague. A year after this interaction, the New York Times would reveal the excerpts of the conversation, which had Nichols say the following.

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

“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.”

While Rachel did issue a public apology, she was removed from the Finals coverage. Soon enough, the ESPN management decided to drop The Jump from airing, a show that had Nichols from its very inception.

Despite one-year remaining on her contract, Nichols and ESPN decided to part ways on mutual terms.

Rachel Nichols spills the beans on the All The Smoke podcast.

After being away from the cameras, Nichols joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, marking her official introduction to Showtime Sports. It was only a matter of time before the senior journalist was asked about her fallout with ESPN, to which she gave a detailed insight.

Nevertheless, we hope Nichols is able to keep everything behind her as she embarks on this new chapter in her life. You can watch the entire interaction below.

Also read: “This is why Malika Andrews ain’t no Rachel Nichols!”: Jimmy Butler’s moment with former ESPN host could hilariously be undoing of successor

About the author

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

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Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

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