Rob Parker: “Rachel Nichols could have said ‘I don’t think Maria Taylor deserves the job, I’m better than her, I can host the show.' You could feel that way and like ‘I’m better than her, I’ve done it before, I’ve had my own show at CNN’, but once you bring in ‘the only reason she got hired is because of diversity and because she’s Black, that’s where you lose me… This pains me because we put our blood, sweat, and tears into this business and the notion like ‘oh my God, they’re just giving Black people jobs!’ is just asinine. It makes me sick, it really does, and that people really believe that. She [Maria Taylor] has put in her time and put in her hard work for her opportunity. I’m not saying everybody has to love her and she’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but don’t belittle her or make it seem like she didn’t earn her way… If that was me and you on that set with Rachel we would have talked with Rachel about the pain and anguish in what Black people have to go through to make it in this business, and it ain’t right to paint us in that light, and continue a stereotype that we don’t belong and that we only get handouts. That’s what bothers me. What are you saying, Rachel?? Do you believe we don’t belong up there with you?? Am I a minority hire?? Is that what you think of me?? Do you really believe they gave me this job because I’m Black? Where did that come from with you? I’m so tired of hearing that this is the only way we get our job. REALLY??”
Chris Broussard: “Rachel would not like it if someone said ‘she only got that job because she’s a woman'… I said yesterday that I was on the show [The Jump] when we didn’t even have a host, they just felt like the four of us could do it – myself, Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon, and Jon Barry. Three of us were Black. Kevin Frazier, Stuart Scott, Jay Williams, Jalen Rose, Sage Steele, there are Negroes all over the TV when it comes to covering basketball, I mean seriously!... Stephen Jackson came out and called Maria Taylor getting the job a ‘sympathy hire’. I don’t know where in the world he got that from. I’ve heard some African-Americans have even admitted it and said ‘yeah, it may have been that’ without really knowing for a fact but speculating themselves. If you feel like Maria Taylor getting that job was a ‘sympathy hire’ or just because she’s Black, I don’t, I think she’s very good at what she does. I think she’s excelled at what she’s done, and played basketball!… If you’re Black and you think it was a ‘sympathy hire’ then shut up about Rachel. Real talk, SHUT UP because you just making noise. You just wanna talk about race and condemn this White woman for saying it. What she said was wrong. If you think what she said was right then you just need to shut up.”
Listen to Chris Broussard and Rob Parker discuss the developing scandal at ESPN involving studio hosts Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols, after a leaked off-camera conversation involving Nichols making disparaging comments about Taylor and the network were revealed to the public.
The July 2020 conversation had Nichols referencing ESPN’s NBA Finals coverage in 2020, saying Taylor was only getting to host the channel’s main studio show because ESPN was ‘feeling pressure’ to be more diverse in the shadows of George Floyd’s murder, and the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.
The controversy has turned into one of the biggest stories in sports, as the Worldwide Leader desperately tries to going into damage during their coverage of the 2021 NBA Finals, which have effectively taken a backseat to this daming scandal.
Check out the full discussion above between Chris and Rob, and also the full transcript from Nichols below.
The leaked conversation reported on by the New York Times between Rachel Nichols and media advisor Adam Mendelsohn about her role in ESPN's NBA Finals coverage being diminished by Maria Taylor.
Rachel Nichols: "So they said to me ‘Hey instead of hosting the NBA Finals, how about you do Doris [Burke, ESPN commentator]’s sideline reporter job for the NBA Finals?’ Cause guess what that would clear the way for?"
Adam Mendelsohn: "For her to do it full time."
Nichols: "For Maria to do the hosting full time."
Nichols: "So I have declined. I don’t know what their next move is, but they are feeling pressure because of…all of that, and I’m trying to figure out, like how to just…you know, my thing is, 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.”
Mendelsohn: “I don’t know. I’m exhausted. Between MeToo and Black Lives Matter, I’ve got nothing left."
Nichols: [laughs] "Been thinking about it? And at like 2 in the afternoon three days from now you’re going to text the perfect Twitter thread."
Mendelsohn: "You could actually generate a really interesting conversation about how it’s just so very white male for them to turn two women on each other to compete over the one spot that’s dangling over them."
Mendelsohn: "A broader conversation about all the spots that should be under consideration."
Nichols: "There isn’t just one seat at the table for a minority of whichever version this week we’re trying to please."
Mendelsohn: "If you think about it, this is precisely the problem we’ve been talking about for a long time now which is white men – it is an example of the one Black person in the boardroom [inaudible]…you don’t get to have a Black woman in a prominent spot and feel like “OK, the work is done.” And you certainly don’t get to say, “OK, we have a white woman, we have a woman in a critical seat, and now we’re going to put a Black woman in that same seat. The question is, what are the other seats that white males are in? That should be under consideration."
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