ESPN removes Rachel Nichols as NBA Finals sideline reporter, replaces her with Malika Andrews

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ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 6: ESPN Reporter, Malika Andrews poses for a photo on campus as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on October 6, 2020 at the hotel in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) | NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Rachel Nichols attends the 2017 NBA Awards at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on June 26, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

The controversy surrounding ESPN continues. Still facing backlash for a leaked sound-byte from the NBA Bubble. ESPN has officially removed Rachel Nichols from the sidelines at the 2021 NBA Finals. Andrew Marchand reports that Malika Andrews will replace Nichols. ESPN, meanwhile, has come out with the following statement.

“We believe this is (the) best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host The Jump.”


Nichols will retain her spot as the lead broadcaster on “The Jump” for the time being. Coverage of the NBA Finals begins on Tuesday night in Phoenix. The Suns will host the Milwaukee Bucks in game one as both teams look to take an early advantage in the series.

The Rachel Nichols Controversy

A recording of Rachel Nichols discussing her employer’s request for her to step down from her post during coverage of the NBA finals leaked onto Twitter Sunday afternoon. The move would transition Maria Taylor, a black woman, into the lead position. She told her colleague, Adam Mendelsohn, that the move correlates to the pressure facing the organization to emphasize diversity.

Nichols’ words sparked much shock and disgust from many on social media. Some have called for her to be fired, citing racism in her remarks. Others merely came to the defense of Maria Taylor, who, in all the fuss, has remained silent on the matter. Rachel Nichols, meanwhile, has since issued a brief, public apology on the July 5th edition of “The Jump.”

How the company goes about the situation from here, or whether the situation will distract from the NBA Finals, we’ll have to wait and see. Despite removing Rachel Nichols from the programming, ESPN may have more to do before this can pass. Regardless, it seems as though the world leader in sports has quite the issue on their hands.

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