Following Rachel Nichols’ leaked comments, ESPN and Maria Taylor have parted ways.
Maria Taylor and ESPN announced her departure from the network on Wednesday after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension. The discovery comes weeks after leaked comments from fellow ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, who said Taylor got her job because of her race.
“Maria’s incredible accomplishment speaks directly to her abilities and hard ethic,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement released Wednesday. We will certainly miss Maria, but we are committed to continuing to grow a talented team that accurately reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve. We are proud of the work we’ve done together, even though she opted to explore a new opportunity.”
Taylor praised Pitaro, as well as her former colleagues, in her statement.
“I am so grateful to Jimmy and all of my incredible teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family—the individuals who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and pulled me up,” Taylor said in a statement.
“Words are insufficient to describe my inexhaustible gratitude, and I hope to do them proud,” she concluded.
Taylor’s final job for ESPN, according to a news release, was to broadcast the NBA Finals on Tuesday evening.
Taylor, 34, worked for the network for seven years. She also covered collegiate basketball and football in addition to the NBA. There’s been no word on where she’ll be working next.
The news of her resignation comes after a report in The New York Times on July 4 that includes published statements from Rachel Nichols’ leaked tape. “If you need to give her more stuff to do because you’re feeling pressured about your horrible longtime record on diversity—which, by the way, I personally know—like, go for it, just find it somewhere else,” Nichols allegedly stated in the tape.
The audio was allegedly recorded after Nichols, who is white, expressed dissatisfaction with Taylor’s assignment to report on the sidelines of the NBA championship series in 2020. Nichols eventually apologized on-air for his remarks and was removed from the sideline coverage of this year’s NBA Finals. Today’s statements made no mention of it. This is a condensed version of the information.