ESPN’s Rachel Nichols found herself in the crosshairs of the media following a leaked phone call from 2020 in which she seemed to imply that colleague Maria Taylor’s hiring by ESPN was due to the network’s “feeling pressure about (its) crappy longtime record on diversity.”
Nichols has since apologized for her comments, and while her position hosting “The Jump” appears safe, the NBA made the decision to remove her from sideline covering the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.
And now, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has offered his thoughts, and it sounds like he’s defending Nichols.
“(It’s) creating a climate where people are comfortable saying what’s on their mind, where people are given the benefit of the doubt, especially long-term employees that are in good standing that when they do make comments, that people recognize that people make mistakes, that careers shouldn’t be erased by a single comment, that we should be judging people by the larger context of their body of work and who they are,’’ Silver said.
“I think it’s particularly unfortunate that two women in the industry are pitted against each other,’’ Silver said. “I know that both Rachel and Maria are terrific at what they do. They work extraordinarily hard.
“When people can’t get in a room and talk through these issues, this seemingly has festered now for a full year. This is an incident that happened I guess when Rachel was in the bubble a year ago, and I would have thought that in the past year, maybe through some incredibly difficult conversations, that ESPN would have found a way to be able to work through it. Obviously not.’’
The Sun s took Game 1 of the NBA Finals with a 118-105 win.