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Doug Gottlieb: Nothing Rachel Nichols Said About Maria Taylor is Wrong

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."

Mendelsohn: "Yeah."

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."

[inaudible exchange]

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."

Nichols: "Right."

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."

Doug Gottlieb: “Nothing of what Rachel Nichols said is wrong. Rachel Nichols has been covering and has devoted herself to covering the NBA since she returned to ESPN, and previous to her leaving ESPN she was covering the NBA. She’s not wrong, in terms of her experience and credibility within the sport, it’s not close. The idea that they were getting ‘pressure’ to put somebody who is Black – remember the time at which this was taking place, it’s in the bubble last year and there are all these pro-‘Black Lives Matter’ protests going on in the outside world. I don’t think any of that was a lie, there was zero lies told, it was just ‘is it okay to say it, and say it about a co-worker, and is there anything wrong with it?’

Listen to Doug Gottlieb discuss the scandalous recent beef between ESPN talents Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor, as the New York Times published a series of leaked phone conversations of Nichols accidentally discussed on camera regarding her diminishing role in the network's 2020 NBA Finals coverage being because of ESPN’s focus on ‘diversity’ on the heels of the George Floyd fallout.

In the damning audio, Nichols is heard saying the network bumped her in favor of Taylor, who is Black, to fill the network’s token need for more ‘diversity’ under public pressure, to which Nichols said had always been a ‘crappy longtime record on diversity.’

Check out the video above as Gottlieb explains why he thinks that nothing Nichols said is wrong.

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