ESPN took some time to discuss the Maria Taylor-Rachel Nichols drama that made its way into headlines in the past few weeks with an internal memo that has since been leaked.
The New York Post obtained the memo from ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro which discusses the situation and reinforces ESPN’s goal to “improve the experiences of Black employees at ESPN.” The Worldwide Leader in Sports will continue to do so through its BECE program (Black Employee and Consumer Experience initiative).
The drama started with leaked audio from Rachel Nichols where she aired her grievances about being passed over for last year’s NBA Finals gig in favor of Maria Taylor.
“We respect and acknowledge there are a variety of feelings about what happened and the actions we took,” Pitaro wrote. “The details of what took place last year are confidential, nuanced, and complicated personnel matters.
“I do want to be clear on one thing: Maria Taylor was selected as NBA Countdown host last year because she earned it. Please know our commitment is that assignments and opportunities at ESPN are based on merit and any concerns, remarks, or inferences that suggest otherwise have been and will continue to be addressed.”
Pitaro also reinforced the sentiment that everyone has to work together to make a better atmosphere at ESPN.
“It’s the way you treat your colleagues, how you champion your team, how you welcome new ideas and people, and how you make others feel. Each of us is responsible for creating a culture and climate that thrives,” he wrote.
The incident appears to have been put on the backburner as ESPN focuses on the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks. Nichols, however, was replaced by Malika Andrews as the network’s sideline reporter for the series.