ESPN, Rachel Nichols officially split after Maria Taylor comments

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - JULY 31: ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols stands on the court before a game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – JULY 31: ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols stands on the court before a game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Rachel Nichols’ time at ESPN is now officially over.

Nichols and ESPN reached a settlement on Tuesday to officially end her deal after private comments she made about diversity and Maria Taylor at the network were made public last year. Nichols had one year left on her contract.

According to the New York Post, Nichols is free to pursue other opportunities immediately.

It’s unclear what Nichols’ next move will be; both she and ESPN declined to comment to the Post. She was reportedly making between $1.5 million to $2 million per year.

Rachel Nichols done after Maria Taylor comments, fallout

A bombshell report from The New York Times in July revealed internal strife at ESPN over comments that Nichols made about Taylor.

Nichols, who is white, made comments in July 2020 after ESPN told her that Taylor, who is Black, will host coverage of the NBA Finals instead of her. Nichols was recorded on a private call, and could be heard saying that she felt as if Taylor was being promoted only because of ESPN’s poor diversity record.

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

Per the report, Taylor then refused to work on air with Nichols after seeing video of her private comments.

Nichols was later removed from all NBA programming and her weekday NBA show, “The Jump” was canceled. Taylor has since left ESPN for NBC Sports after her contract expired in July.

Nichols first started at ESPN in 2004 covering both the NFL and NBA. She left for CNN and Turner Sports in 2013, but returned in 2016.

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