Maria Taylor is leaving ESPN weeks after audio leak revealed ‘diversity’ comments from colleague

ESPN's Maria Taylor.
Maria Taylor. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
  • Maria Taylor is leaving ESPN after she and the network failed to meet an agreement on a contract extension.
  • She’s leaving weeks after leaked audio showed ESPN’s Rachel Nichols suggesting Taylor was promoted to boost diversity.
  • Tuesday night’s NBA Finals telecast was Taylor’s last assignment with ESPN, the network said.
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Maria Taylor is leaving ESPN after she and the network failed to meet an agreement on a contract extension, ESPN and Taylor said in a joint press release on Wednesday.

Her exit comes weeks after leaked audio showed ESPN’s Rachel Nichols downplaying Taylor’s accomplishments in 2020. Nichols accused the network of promoting Taylor, who is Black, to make up for its “crappy longtime record on diversity.”

Nichols was pulled from NBA Finals sideline coverage after the audio leaked.

ESPN said in its statement about Taylor leaving that Tuesday night’s NBA Finals telecast was Taylor’s last assignment with the network.

“So thankful to Jimmy [Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content] and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family – the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up. Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud,” Taylor said in a statement.

While Taylor has not announced where she’s headed next, sources told the New York Post that she is expected to land a job with NBC to cover the upcoming Olympics.