Maria Taylor lands at NBC after ESPN colleague’s racially charged comments about her

Maria Taylor lands at NBC after ESPN colleague’s racially charged comments about her
·2 min read

Sports journalist Maria Taylor has been hired by NBC just days after her ESPN contract expired.

NBC announced that Ms Taylor was joining the network during its Olympic programming on Friday night after ESPN and Ms Taylor said on Wednesday that they couldn’t come to a deal on a new contract.

Ms Taylor will now be a part of NBC’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The opening ceremony took place on Friday.

She will join the up to three-hour nightly broadcasts of Prime Plus and be a correspondent on the network.

NBC added that Ms Taylor will also serve as a host and contributor on Sundays on Football Night in America. She will also host the network’s broadcast of the Super Bowl.

“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events and will be a powerful addition to our team. We are always looking to improve, and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo,” NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement.

Ms Taylor’s contract with EPSN expired on Tuesday. She joined the network in 2014 and most recently hosted their NBA Finals coverage where she hosted the pre- and postgame show NBA Countdown. She started leading the show in 2019. In 2017, she started as a reporter for College GameDay as well as ABC’s Saturday Night Football.

ESPN and Ms Taylor had been negotiating a new contract over the past year, but tensions within the network spiked in the last month.

Last year, Ms Taylor declined an extension, and as the NBA Finals got underway, the two sides were still far from a deal.

That’s when The New York Times reported on comments Ms Taylor’s ESPN colleague Rachel Nichols had made about her as the NBA restarted in Florida last year.

Ms Nichols, who is white, was announced as the host of that season’s NBA Finals for ESPN, but Ms Taylor, who is Black, was later promoted by the network.

In a phone call that was accidentally recorded and later obtained by The New York Times, Ms Nichols said: “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world – she covers football, she covers basketball. 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.”

Ms Nichols apologized on 5 July while hosting the ESPN show The Jump.

She was set to be the sideline reporter during the NBA Finals but was removed from the network’s coverage.

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