It began during the NBA Bubble in 2020 when Nichols had a private conversation with Adam Mendelsohn, a longtime adviser of LeBron James, sneakily recorded.
Then it was leaked to the New York Times right before the 2021 NBA Finals. In the clip, she can be heard speaking about ESPN wanting Maria Taylor to host the Finals coverage for diversity reasons, despite it being in Nichols’ contract. A spat ensued with many angrily thinking Nichols was trying to take an opportunity from a Black woman. Nichols then left ESPN after the two entities came to a settlement.
The pundit recently sat with All The Smoke‘s Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes to speak on how the conversation was leaked.
“It was a different set of equipment than I had been using to broadcast at home. So my very first day I’m there I’m using the new equipment and I didn’t know that if you leave a particular app running in the background that the line from my hotel room to Bristol would stay open,” Nichols explains. “Unfortunately that entire time nobody back at ESPN told me that there was an open line to my hotel room and that anyone who looked at the feed could see me. No one shut it off, decided ‘Oh she clearly doesn’t know she’s being watched unpacking.’ Or doing all these other things. And at least one person decided to just sit and watch and started spying on me like I was their own personal TV show, and when they heard something they thought was juicy, they picked up their cellphone and started recording my conversation on their cellphone.”
Nichols argues that it’s less a race issue and more so shows that having to take an opportunity from one woman to support another, shows that the lack of women on staff is the problem.
I have fought through a lot of things in this business to get where I am. To me, it felt like ‘hey if you have a problem, if it is this article, if it is something else. Whatever it is, why are you coming to the two women here to solve it?’” she says before arguing that being asked to step down from major programming would never happen to a prominent man, naming College GameDay host Rece Davis as an example.
The sports reporter has officially announced a new deal with Showtime but Twitter is still reacting to her side of the story. Check out some reactions below.
Rachel Nichols Opens Up About Maria Taylor Controversy, Twitter Blames It All On ESPN was originally published on cassiuslife.com