ESPN’s Rachel Nichols was unknowingly recorded having a private conversation while in her hotel room in Orlando, Florida. An ESPN employee reportedly sent Deadspin four clips of Nichols to reprimand her for being disloyal to the company.
That the conversation in question is about 30 minutes in length, but Deadspin only received four minutes of edited footage. The site opted not to disseminate the conversation’s specifics due to them only receiving one half of the exchange. They also highlighted that the clips in no way depict Nichols as a “back-stabber” or “phony ally.”
“In light of privacy concerns and our being unable to view the entirety of the conversation recorded, we have chosen not to detail the conversation or post the video of the call,” Deadspin reported. “Nothing in the videos Deadspin viewed show Nichols saying anything that could be construed as either a back-stabber or phony ally.“
ESPN issued a statement deploring the behavior. They also reassured the public that Nichols and her job were not affected by this invasion of privacy.
“We are extremely disappointed about the leak of a private conversation. It’s indefensible and an intrusion on Rachel’s privacy,” ESPN said in a statement. “As for the substance of the conversation, it is not reflective of our decision-making on staffing assignments for the NBA, which has largely been driven by the circumstances of the pandemic.”
The perpetrator could also find themself guilty of more than merely a blatant invasion of privacy. ESPN has headquarters in Florida and Connecticut – which are two-party consent states. Nichols was secretly recorded and didn’t seem to have granted any permission.
A similar incident occurred in 2009. Someone videotaped ESPN reporter Erin Andrews through the peephole of her hotel room in Nashville. Michael David Barrett, the guilty party, got two and a half years in prison for stalking Andrews.