Rachel Nichols’ time at ESPN is now officially over.
Nichols and ESPN reached a settlement on Tuesday to officially end her deal after private comments she made about diversity and Maria Taylor at the network were made public last year. Nichols had one year left on her contract.
According to the New York Post, Nichols is free to pursue other opportunities immediately.
It’s unclear what Nichols’ next move will be; both she and ESPN declined to comment to the Post. She was reportedly making between $1.5 million to $2 million per year.
Rachel Nichols done after Maria Taylor comments, fallout
A bombshell report from The New York Times in July revealed internal strife at ESPN over comments that Nichols made about Taylor.
Nichols, who is white, made comments in July 2020 after ESPN told her that Taylor, who is Black, will host coverage of the NBA Finals instead of her. Nichols was recorded on a private call, and could be heard saying that she felt as if Taylor was being promoted only because of ESPN’s poor diversity record.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in the leaked audio. “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
Per the report, Taylor then refused to work on air with Nichols after seeing video of her private comments.
Nichols first started at ESPN in 2004 covering both the NFL and NBA. She left for CNN and Turner Sports in 2013, but returned in 2016.