ESPN removes Rachel Nichols from programming, cancels The Jump
While it seemed like the Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols drama had boiled over, it appears that it hasn’t. ESPN announced on Wednesday they have removed Nichols from NBA programming and will cancel The Jump ahead of the 2021-22 season, per John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.
ESPN will cancel Nichols' show "The Jump." It will launch a new afternoon NBA show in the lead-up to next season. No details on that show’s format or host.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 25, 2021
Here’s the statement from ESPN Senior VP David Roberts, via SBJ:
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” Roberts said in a statement. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
Malika Andrews had been hosting ESPN’s The Jump for the last week, which left many wondering if Nichols was ultimately being punished. Nichols will remain with the network for now as she still has over a year left on her contract, but it’s unknown what her next role will be. ESPN will also launch a brand new NBA show in the afternoons for the next season.
Nichols first entered hot water during the NBA Playoffs when there was audio leaked of her putting the Worldwide Leader in Sports on blast for giving Taylor her sideline reporter job in the Disney bubble. She proceeded to make some questionable racial comments, which led to ESPN handing Andrews the sideline reporter gig in this year’s NBA Finals. Taylor eventually left for NBC Sports and was seen covering the Tokyo Olympics.
Lots of drama at ESPN.