Rachel Nichols found herself in some hot water this past weekend as the New York Times did a piece on a tape that was leaked in which Nichols claims Maria Taylor was only hired to do “NBA Countdown” because she fulfils a diversity quota. Many employees within ESPN were outraged by the news although Nichols has seen support from the likes of Stephen Jackson and Kendrick Perkins.

With Nichols’ show “The Jump” airing today, many have been curious as to whether or not she would address the controversy. In the end, Nichols did just that although she made sure to keep it brief. Nichols didn’t want to take away from the NBA Finals, so she apologized to Taylor in the first 30 seconds, and allowed Perkins to speak next, who praised Nichols for owning up to her error.

“So the first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story, and I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals,” Nichols said. “But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team.”

At this point, it remains to be seen how Taylor is feeling behind the scenes, especially as she recently turned down a large contract to return to the network. There is no denying that ESPN is a toxic place right now, and it will be interesting to see how things play out.

Rachel Nichols

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