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#pounditSaturday, September 18, 2021

Rachel Nichols addresses Maria Taylor leaked audio controversy

Rachel Nichols

Rachel Nichols became one of the biggest stories of the sports world on the 4th of July when an audio clip of her talking about fellow ESPN employee Maria Taylor was leaked. Nichols has now addressed the controversy on live television.

Nichols spoke about the New York Times story briefly during Monday’s edition of “The Jump,” which she hosts. She said she didn’t want to distract from the NBA Finals or break one of the core journalism rules by becoming the story but that she is “deeply sorry” for her remarks about Taylor.

“I don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect and 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,” Nichols said.

Kendrick Perkins, who co-hosts “The Jump,” thanked Nichols for accepting responsibility for her actions. He also said she is a “great person” and has always treated him with respect and made him feel comfortable.

Nichols reportedly made the comments about Taylor in her hotel room at the NBA’s Walt Disney World bubble last year. She had forgotten to turn her camera off after filming “The Jump” and was venting about how ESPN gave Taylor the NBA Finals hosting job over her. Nichols criticized ESPN for its “crappy longtime record on diversity” but said she felt she was more deserving than Taylor. You can listen to the audio clip here.

Taylor is in the middle of a contract dispute with ESPN and reportedly turned down an offer of $5 million per year from the network. Jalen Rose showed support for her live on the air last week. You can see that video here.

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