As ESPN’s Rachel Nichols continues to face backlash for feedback she made concerning colleague Maria Taylor, NBA commissioner Adam Silver mentioned he believes she mustn’t have her profession taken away over her feedback.
Whereas Silver, talking throughout a press convention earlier than Recreation 1 of the NBA Finals between the Suns and Bucks, known as the state of affairs at ESPN “disheartening,” he mentioned that it ought to be acknowledged that folks, “especially long-term employees that are in good standing” make errors.
“That careers shouldn’t be erased by a single comment. That we should be judging people by the larger context of their body of work and who they are and what we know about them,” Silver mentioned.
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Silver mentioned that it was “particularly unfortunate that two women in the industry are pitted against each other,” and mentioned each Taylor and Nichols are “terrific at what they do.”
He added that he felt a part of the problem was that ESPN was unable to get everybody within the room to have the difficult conversations.
“This is an incident that happened I guess when Rachel was in the bubble a year ago, and I would have thought that in the past year, maybe through some incredibly difficult conversations that ESPN would have found a way to be able to work through it,” Silver mentioned. “Obviously not.”
Silver mentioned he has confidence in ESPN and Disney management and that the corporate will be capable to work via the state of affairs, however mentioned it’s significantly difficult to take care of this within the sports activities and media business provided that all the pieces performs out publicly whereas in different companies, it’s dealt with by human assets departments.
“These issues are not unique to ESPN. As I said, the league is working on its own issues in terms of doing a better job with diversity and it’s not just in sports, but in companies around America. There’s a reckoning going on,” Silver mentioned. “I think part of it from what we’re seeing at ESPN, it’s one thing to talk about the principles around diversity and inclusion. It’s something else when it comes to somebody’s specific job and how that’s handled. And what I’ve learned from dealing with these issues in the NBA is that they are incredibly complex.”
Nichols, who’s white, has come below fireplace after a report from The New York Occasions got here out on Sunday that she made feedback, which had been recorded and saved in ESPN’s servers, to LeBron James advisor Adam Mendelsohn and agent Wealthy Paul that Taylor, who’s Black, was internet hosting the 2020 NBA Finals as a result of the community was “feeling pressure” to be extra numerous.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols mentioned within the name. “If you might want to give her extra issues to do as a result of you feel stress about your crappy longtime file on range — which, by the way in which, I do know personally from the feminine facet of it — like, go for it. Simply discover it some place else. You aren’t going to search out it from me or taking my factor away.
“I simply need them to go some place else — it’s in my contract, by the way in which; this job is in my contract in writing.”
Nichols has since apologized on “The Soar” to Taylor and to others.
“The very first thing they train you in journalism faculty is, ‘Do not be the story.’ And I do not plan to interrupt that rule right this moment or distract from a implausible Finals,” Nichols said. “However I additionally do not wish to let this second cross with out saying how a lot I respect, how a lot I worth our colleagues right here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply sorry I’m for disappointing these I harm, significantly Maria Taylor. And the way grateful I’m to be part of this excellent workforce.”
ESPN announced on Tuesday that Nichols would not be reporting on the sidelines during ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals, and that instead it would be Malika Andrews. Nichols will continue to work on “The Soar” in the course of the postseason.