ESPN removing Rachel Nichols from all NBA programming
Another major on-air shakeup is coming to ESPN.
ESPN has taken Rachel Nichols off all its NBA programming, as first reported by Sports Business Journal on Wednesday. The network has also decided to cancel Nichols’ popular weekday basketball show “The Jump.”
The report adds that Nichols remains under contract, which has over a year remaining on it, but is unlikely to appear on the air for ESPN over that time. Meanwhile, “The Jump” will run for a few more episodes over the next couple of weeks, none of which will have Nichols as the host.
The move comes roughly two months after a controversy involving leaked audio of Nichols arose, causing a rift at the network. Nichols had expressed disappointment that ESPN colleague Maria Taylor was given the hosting job for the 2020 NBA Finals instead of her. Nichols indicated that she thought that the network was trying to rectify their supposedly poor track record on diversity with the decision.
Nichols was subsequently removed from covering the 2021 Finals as well in light of the controversy. She also got taken off one episode of “The Jump” but had since returned to host the show, which debuted in 2016 and netted Nichols a Sports Emmy nomination for best host earlier this year. A number of people, most notably NBA commissioner Adam Silver, had criticized ESPN for their handling of the Nichols situation.
The Nichols news is the latest in a series of changes for ESPN. Earlier this week, they removed another well-known personality from an on-air role.