Despite her progressive bona fides, ESPN host Rachel Nichols was targeted by the sports media’s metaphorical version of the Taliban, the “BLM-LBTQ+ alphabet mafia,” for criticizing diversity as it related to rising star Maria Taylor, influential journalist Jason Whitlock claims.
“[U]nder the tenets of Sha-Maria Law, the Alphabet Mafia beheaded NBA broadcaster Rachel Nichols for private disobedience of identity politics guidelines,” after placing “a bounty on Nichols’ career at ESPN,” Whitlock, a former ESPN employee, now with The Blaze, wrote in reference to Nichols and her ex-colleague Taylor.
“Nichols fought her way to the top of sports media with hard work and cunning politics. She earned it. Yes, Nichols played woke to survive and thrive within corporate media. But she did not deserve this embarrassing public execution…She whined to a friend that identity politics stole an opportunity she earned. Who wouldn’t do that? Who hasn’t done that?,” Whitlock insisted.
Less sympathetic media observers have maintained that Nichols epitomized limousine liberals who seek to insulate themselves, through wealth and/or connections, from the policies that they espouse for everyone else.
Among other things, Whitlock implied that the ESPN culture encouraged on-screen talent like Maria Taylor and others to become social justice advocates.
“Taylor was radicalized by Taliban culture early in her career. She is quite talented. But ESPN raised her to feel entitled,” he said.
Last week, ESPN announced that it was canceling Nichols’ show called “NBA: The Jump,” which generally consisted of her fawning over active and retired pro basketball players. The self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports will pay out the rest of her contract while she sits home on the couch.
In leaked audio during the NBA 2020 bubble in Orlando that circulated and festered throughout ESPN but was kept under wraps, Nichols disparaged her employer for its diversity shortcomings, but never criticized Maria Taylor for her career advancement to hosting the marquee “NBA Countdown” show, despite how the corporate media reported the controversy this summer.
The thrust of Nichols’ private comments. while cameras were still rolling unbeknownst to her, was perhaps more or less, diversity for thee, but not for me.
I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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. I just want them to go somewhere else — it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing,”
Apparently, Nichols expected that she, rather than Taylor, would be the primary pre-and post-game host during the NBA finals.
Nichols apologized for her relatively mild comments, but as history has shown, the apology is seldom enough for the woke contingent.
Although Nichols is taking the high road, she is now evidently out of a job, and it remains to be seen, given the baggage, if she will resurface on another network. An ESPN exec described the parting as a mutual agreement.
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
At the time that this controversy raged earlier this summer, there was speculation in some quarters that Team Taylor released the audio to a compliant New York Times reporter as a way to give her more leverage in salary negotiations with ESPN.
Taylor reportedly wanted Stephen A. Smith money, Smith being the top star at ESPN. ESPN offered her a big raise, but not to the Smith level.
Taylor wound up leaving for NBC, in a move that apolitical boxing writer and ex-ESPNer Steve Kim quipped on Whitlock’s podcast may or may not constitute a “woke-off home run.”
“Can you be conservative at ESPN and thrive? Yes, if you muffle your viewpoints,” Kim added.
All the way back in 2016, ESPN’s then-public editor wrote that conservative-leaning employees felt that they had to self-censor given the dominant liberal culture there.
Parenthetically, during the same secretly record conversation, Nichols claimed that she had to work harder than everyone else because of obstacles from “Trump supporters” in management, as if the very woke parent company Disney would ever allow MAGA fans to get anywhere near the executive suite.
When Jimmy Pitaro took over as ESPN president in 2018, he apparently tried to implement a no-politics policy. That went out the window when George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, resulting in a murder conviction for ex-cop Derek Chauvin.
“It resurrected the Taliban, aka the Alphabet Mafia,” Whitlock claimed about the Floyd incident. “Insurrectionists in sports media and across American culture glorified St. George Floyd so they could use him to seize power and exact revenge on the infidels who stray from or don’t adhere to the politics of identity.”
Many observers contend that ESPN is a virtue-signaling, social justice advocacy platform that also shows games.
ESPN may have reached an agreement with Nichols as part of the buyout that covered legal contingencies. If not, she might have a legal cause of action for breach of contract or even for violating Florida law that requires two-party consent for a taped phone call. This is all speculation, however.
Ironically, the conversation occurred with an advisor to LeBron James, the NBA super woke superstar. That person subsequently apologized for his privilege for telling Nichols during the call that “I’m exhausted. Between Me Too and Black Lives Matter, I got nothing left.”
Clay Travis, the founder of Outkick where Whitlock used to work, gave his own take about Nichols’ situation.
“Rachel Nichols was fine with diversity and inclusion as long as diversity and inclusion didn’t take away her job and her responsibilities,” Travis insisted.
The woke police finding another victim. Cancel culture has come for ESPN’s own red-haired NBA star, Rachel Nichols. She is no more; she will cease to exist on ESPN…Even as the NBA’s overall ratings collapsed, Rachel Nichols made the decision to defend the NBA and all of the woke idiocy that that league embraced.
In fact, she lectured America on how brave the NBA was when they pulled their All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, over a bathroom bill that was alleged to target transgender individuals. Even while the NBA continued to play basketball all around the world in countries such as China, which have a repressive human rights regime…you are at some point in time gong to be cancelled if you’re not woke enough and you work in sports.
“You have two options: Say nothing or get fired…ESPN is a one-party state. And they are making it clear that if you are not woke enough, even if you had previously been a woke disciple like Rachel Nichols, too bad,” he added.
— OutKick (@Outkick) August 25, 2021
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