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Rachel Nichols apologizes for Maria Taylor comments: “I’m deeply, deeply sorry”

Rachel Nichols has stepped forth to apologize for the comments she was recorded making about Maria Taylor.

Rachel Nichols, Maria Taylor Getty Images

Yesterday (July 4), Nichols made headlines for the wrong reasons after audio of a conversation in which she suggested that ESPN was giving a job to Maria Taylor, a Black commentator on the network, because they felt pressure to improve their diversity record. Now, she’s stepped forth to apologize.

During an episode of “The Jump” that aired today, Nichols took the time to apologize for her comments, which were made while she was on the phone with LeBron James’ spokesperson, Adam Mendelsohn, in the Orlando bubble last year.

“I also didn’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect and how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN, how deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt—particularly Maria Taylor—, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team,” Nichols said during the episode.

According to The Times, the conversation with Mendelsohn saw her try to sort out how she should deal with her potentially losing her role hosting the NBA Finals coverage for 2020. Nichols’ conversation was supposed to have been private, but she was recording material for ESPN’s TV programming through equipment they used for the show during a time when cast members needed to quarantine. Sources believe that because it was technology she was unfamiliar with, she failed to turn off the recording equipment, and the conversation was recorded to ESPN’s servers in Connecticut, where another member of the staff recorded it and sent it to other ESPN co-workers.

“The Jump” co-hosts, retired NBA players Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson, spoke on Nichols’ comments, with Perkins saying she has a “great heart.” For his part, Jefferson pointed to the need for difficult conversations.

“Those conversations don’t end here,” said Jefferson, who won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. “We will continue to have uncomfortable conversations. No one is excused. She is not excused, I am not excused, Perk… This doesn’t just go away. But we have to learn and understand it and become better for each other. And really through our actions more than anything. And that is our responsibility.

For her part, Taylor passed on the chance to comment on The Times’ story and she also apparently rejected Nichols’ attempts to apologize. See video of Nichols’ apology for yourself just below.

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