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NBC’s Michele Tafoya is expected to be out as the network’s NFL sideline reporter at the end of the 2021-22 season, having been a fixture of the NFL for decades on CBS, ABC/ESPN and NBC.
The veteran reporter has been suspiciously absent from her normal role for three games following an early November stint on ABC’s “The View” where she occupied the hot seat alongside the notoriously leftist panel.
Among the many issues discussed on the episode was the debate over whether Critical Race Theory is being taught in schools or not, as well as COVID-19 policymaking, but it was the comments she made regarding failed NFL quarterback and controversial activist Colin Kaepernick that have fueled speculation those remarks have led to her undoing at the network.
NBC described the 56-year-old reporter’s recent absences as “bye weeks.”
Sports analyst Bill Simmons drew attention to Tafoya’s noticeable absence on his podcast.
“She was in the conservative seat,” Simmons said of Tafoya’s appearance on “The View,” adding, “Then a couple weeks later, all of a sudden, just on a bye [from NBC]. Taking a break.”
While sometimes bad weather can be a factor, such was not the case in Tafoya’s absence. The respective Sunday Night Football games she would have contributed to in Baltimore, Seattle and Green Bay reportedly did not present any inclement weather problems for sideline broadcasting.
During the episode of the ABC show in question, co-host Sunny Hostin and Tafoya clashed over the reasoning for Kaepernick’s inability to keep a job in the NFL after 2016 and his subsequent attempts to reignite his career. He has compared the NFL draft as well as compulsory training camps to slavery.
Tafoya argued that no one is being forced to become a football player and that everyone has agency in their career decisions.
“No one pressures them,” she said. “They’re not forced to go into the NFL.”
She added, “I thought comparing it to the slave trade was a little rough. … These guys enter willingly. They are the most well-cared-for people. Yes, they play a hard sport, and every one of them – black, white, Latino, whoever’s playing the sport – will tell you how much they love it and they’re willing to do it and they make a damn good living.”
Hostin naturally had to make the argument that most NFL owners are white while most players are black, which therefore justifies Kaepernick’s assessment.
“That comparison that he makes to slave owners and slaves is not, sort of, totally unreasonable or out of bounds,” she said.
The pair also disagreed on what has resulted from Kapernick’s now-infamous kneeling during the national anthem while playing for the San Francisco 49ers, with Hostin saying he “lost everything” by doing so.
Tafoya countered with the fact that the ex-QB has actually “gained a lot,” having garnered huge contracts with Nike and Netflix as a result of his protestations.
NBC has not decided on Tafoya’s replacement, but it is believed Kathryn Tappen is the leading candidate, according to the New York Post.
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