colleague Rachel Nichols
made headlines this week over a hot mic
scandal, which fueled long-standing racial issues at the network, ESPN
host Maria Taylor
recently wrote on Twitter
that she is "still in the fight."
Nichols, who is white, has been embroiled in controversy this week after The New York Times
published a damning report on Sunday revealing comments she made about Taylor, who is Black
, when she accidentally recorded herself in a phone conversation with Adam Mendelsohn, a longtime adviser to Los Angeles Lakers
star LeBron James
During that conversation, Nichols suggested that ESPN chose Taylor to host the 2020 NBA Finals
pregame and postgame shows, a job she sought out for herself, because of her race. The footage was sent to a server at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol
, where it was recorded and distributed among ESPN employees.
“During the dark times, I always remember that I am in this position to open doors and light the path that others walk down,” Taylor said in a tweet on Wednesday. “I’ve taken some punches, but that just means I’m still in the fight. Remember to lift as you climb and always KEEP RISING.”
I've taken some punches but that just means I'm still in the fight. Remember to lift as you climb and always KEEP RISING pic.twitter.com/ztSIx9CLpO — Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) July 7, 2021
Taylor, who hosts “NBA Countdown,” has previously pressed the network on race issues, and she received widespread support on social media
this week after Nichols’ recording was revealed, with many people
slamming the conversation for conveying a common racist
trope that Black professionals do not earn their positions in workplaces.
Nichols, the host of ESPN's "The Jump," suggested in the 2020 call that Taylor was chosen to host the NBA Finals coverage last year because ESPN was under pressure to address its diversity
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football
, she covers basketball
,” Nichols said on the recording obtained by the Times. “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.
Nichols was removed from the NBA Finals sideline coverage amid the controversy, ESPN announced on Tuesday before the game between the Phoenix Suns
and the Milwaukee
Bucks began, but she will continue to host “The Jump.”
The host of “The Jump” apologized during Monday’s episode, and while ESPN did not air the show on Tuesday, Nichols returned to the air on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Taylor is said to be in the process of renegotiating her contract with ESPN, which is set to expire later this month.