Per John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, Rachel Nichols will no longer appear on ESPN and the network is in the process of winding down her daily NBA show, The Jump.
Two weeks ago, ESPN announced that David Roberts would lead all NBA programming going forward, and his first move was certainly a decisive one.
The Jump, which will still be on the air with different hosts over the next few weeks, will reportedly be replaced with a new NBA weekday show in the leadup to the 2021-22 season.
The news comes a little more than a month after Maria Taylor left the company to join NBC, on the heels of The New York Times‘ publication of Rachel Nichols’ 2020 comments about ESPN colleague Maria Taylor, the fallout that’s created within ESPN, the reduced on-air duties for Nichols during the NBA Finals. Some had prognosticated that ESPN could look to part ways with Nichols as “the anger over this is too raw and too widespread” for ESPN to keep her in such a prominent role in the wake of Taylor’s high profile departure.
Nichols tweeted about the news shortly after it broke.
Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people ❤️ talking about one my favorite things 🏀 An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew – The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. 😎
More to come… pic.twitter.com/FPMFRlfJin
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 25, 2021
Many high profile people within sports media also weighed in on the surprising move with the main takeaway being ESPN really screwed up their management of this.
In addition to the issues of race, gender and entitlement this brought up, from an organizational standpoint this was about talent management. Both Nichols and Taylor should have known where they stood, and not need to angle for jobs or set picks for competitors.
— Jane McManus (@janesports) August 25, 2021
I actually thought Rachel Nichols would return to ESPN after everything blew over. Now the World Wide Leader is without Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols. New era in terms of basketball coming for the network
— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) August 25, 2021
I actually thought Rachel Nichols had survived the storm.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) August 25, 2021
Even when I wrote this it seemed insane to think it would actually happen.
— Ben Koo (@bkoo) August 25, 2021
So should ESPN have acted sooner to remove Rachel Nichols in order to keep Maria Taylor?
— Bob Williams (@WilliamsBob75) August 25, 2021
Regarding the Rachel Nichols situation, @espn management is mainly to blame for allowing this culture to fester. This isn't the first time. Don't let them off the hook.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 25, 2021
Just my opinion, but it seems to me as an outside observer, that ESPN really wanted to humiliate Rachel Nichols. https://t.co/CUamrZcbkW
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 25, 2021
I'm not judging right, wrong, what was said, etc. But, as a human, I feel badly for Rachel. https://t.co/8eyXr6IYfz
— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) August 25, 2021
so ESPN stood by Rachel Nichols internally then wound up firing her AND losing Maria Taylor after everything became public
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) August 25, 2021
ESPN will now be tasked with rebuilding their NBA coverage with two key pieces from last season gone and a lot of people angry about how this played out.