ESPN Pulls Rachel Nichols From NBA Programming ESPN Cancels Rachel Nichols’ Show “The Jump” And Removes Her From NBA Programming
LOS ANGELES (AP) – ESPN is canceling Rachel Nichols’ show, “The Jump,” and removing her from NBA programming.
David Roberts, who was named last week to oversee the network’s NBA coverage, said in a statement that “we agreed that this approach to our NBA coverage was best for everyone involved.” .”
“Rachel is an outstanding reporter, host, and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content,” said Roberts.
Nichols also confirmed the move on her Instagram page. Sports Business Journal was the first to report it.
Nichols wrote: “I got to do a whole show and hang out for five years with some of my favorite people talking about one of my favorite things. Eternal thanks to our amazing producers and crew – ‘The Jump’ was never built to last, but it sure was fun. More to come …”
ESPN has a new daily NBA show that will premiere sometime before the regular season starts in October. Roberts will also be responsible for revamping and finding a host for the network’s “NBA Countdown” show with Maria Taylor’s departure to NBC.
Nichols, who has more than a year left on his contract, has been an integral part of ESPN’s NBA coverage since she returned to the network in 2016. “The Jump” began in February of that year and went from airing only during the season to an almost year-round fixture. She was also the sideline reporter for most of ESPN’s major national games this season.
Nichols, however, came under fire after a report by The New York Times on July 4 detailing detailed critical comments she made about Taylor.
Nichols, who is white, made the comments last year when she learned that Taylor, who is black, would be directing the network’s studio show in lieu of her during the competition’s reboot at Walt Disney World.
In a phone call that was accidentally recorded and obtained by the paper, Nichols said: “I wish Maria Taylor all the luck in the world – she covers football, she covers basketball. If you have to give her more things to do because you feel pressured about your crappy old record on diversity – which I know personally from the feminine side of it by the way – like, go for it. Find it elsewhere. You won’t find it or take my thing.”
The Times reported that the show’s crew was angry with Nichols, who apologized while hosting “The Jump” on July 5. The report also came less than three weeks before Taylor’s contract with ESPN was set to expire and after she turned down an extension.
ESPN replaced Nichols with Malika Andrews as a sideline reporter for the NBA Finals after the report. Andrews, 26, who hosted The Jump last week while Nichols was on vacation, is expected to feature prominently in the network’s coverage.
Nichols continued to host “The Jump” on-site throughout the finale. She also attended the recently concluded NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.