Commissioner Adam Silver showed support for ESPN’s NBA personality Rachel Nichols in her feud with colleague Maria Taylor, saying the whole episode is “disheartening’’ and appearing angry the issue has festered this long.
ESPN banned Nichols from doing sideline coverage of the NBA Finals as a result of a secret tape recording one year ago in which she stated that Taylor’s promotion to the “NBA Countdown” shows was likely based on race. Taylor is black. Nichols, who is white, is still doing her regular NBA show, “The Jump,’’ though Tuesday’s edition, which aired hours before Game 1, was cancelled.
Silver said he doesn’t believe Nichols’ future with the network should be in jeopardy over her comment.
“(It’s) creating a climate where people are comfortable saying what’s on their mind, where people are given the benefit of the doubt, especially long-term employees that are in good standing that when they do make comments, that people recognize that people make mistakes, that careers shouldn’t be erased by a single comment, that we should be judging people by the larger context of their body of work and who they are,’’ Silver said Tuesday.
The recording of Nichols’ remarks, which was uploaded to ESPN servers without her knowledge, was provided to network heads a year ago, and Silver can’t fathom how it hadn’t already been resolved. Silver made his remarks at his annual State of the NBA Address before the Finals.
“I think it’s particularly unfortunate that two women in the industry are pitted against each other,’’ Silver said. “I know that both Rachel and Maria are terrific at what they do. They work extraordinarily hard.
“When people can’t get in a room and talk through these issues, this seemingly has festered now for a full year. This is an incident that happened I guess when Rachel was in the bubble a year ago, and I would have thought that in the past year, maybe through some incredibly difficult conversations, that ESPN would have found a way to be able to work through it. Obviously not.’’
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SOURCE: New York Post, Marc Berman