ESPN appears to not know how to deal with the Rachel Nichols versus Maria Taylor debacle. One year ago Nichols made comments suggesting that Taylor was promoted to a spotlight position over her, because of ESPN looking to display a sense of diversity in the working environment.
Nichols comments were seen as disrespectful suggesting that Taylor’s skin color got her promoted on the sympathy of diversity in the work environment, not her skills. Only since a leaked audio surfaced of Nichols actions one year later did ESPN take some reprimanded action against Nichols by demoting her from her hosting duties. NBA commissioner Adam Silver in a press conference had this to say about the year long ESPN controversy, which has blown up in public over the last few days:
“I think it’s particularly unfortunate that two women in the industry are pitted against each other. I know that both Rachel and Maria are terrific at what they do. They work extraordinarily hard.
I think part of the problem is that when people can’t get in a room and talk through these issues, this seemingly has festered now for a full year. 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.”
Silver also had this to say in the environment both Nichols and Taylor should have been given privately to deal with the now very public issue or before it became public:
They require a very labor-intensive effort … 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,” Silver said.
That we should be judging people by the larger context of their body of work and who they are and what we know about them.”
It was just days ago Nichols publicly apologize to Taylor. Then just yesterday, ESPN took Nichols off her routine job assignment in hosting the NBA Finals. They have decided to go with rising sports reporter Malika Andrews.