Sport News Rachel Nichols’ comments about Maria Taylor are latest example of how ESPN screws over its Black employees

What you’re about to read will give you context and details about the story of the day, and one of the biggest stories of the past year in sports media. It will also shed light on a lot of the variables that have made this thing go viral. Because while you think you know what’s going on, I guarantee you that you don’t.

On the morning of July 4, 2021, The New York Times dropped a bombshell of a story detailing Rachel Nichols’ complaints about Maria Taylor, “diversity,” and how she and Adam Mendelsohn — LeBron James’ longtime advisor — laughed about “being exhausted” due to the #MeToo Movement and Black Lives Matter.

Think about that for a second. A privileged white woman, who covers a Black league, laughed when a privileged white man, who interacts with powerful Black men daily, ran out of energy because women of all colors are tired of being sexually harassed and assaulted while Black people are fed up with being target practice for the police. Yet Mendelsohn thinks he’s the “exhausted” one. And Nichols thinks there’s something funny about that. The audacity some white people have behind closed doors is always mind-blowing… and expected.

But, back to the story.

Over the last 24 hours, nothing has mattered in the sports media world besides this story. Go check Twitter, it’s still trending. People have a lot to say. Some of it is really good conversation, where Black people and people of color are pulling back the curtain on ESPN and explaining how it really feels to work for the corporate giant. However, there’s also a lot of misinformation, lazy assertions, and a ton of people tweeting who have no idea what’s actually going on.

But I do.

So grab a seat and a drink, because I’m about to tell you how this all went down.

On July 14, 2020, at 7:36 p.m. CST, I received anonymous texts from an unknown number with a 202 area code from a person who refused to identify themself. The texts began with four grainy video clips. They were recordings of a computer screen in which the only thing visible was a chair in a hotel room. The audio was of a woman on a phone call. That woman was Rachel Nichols, and she was talking to Adam Mendelsohn.

Below are the four one-minute clips sent to Deadspin a year ago:

Originally, the unidentified person told me that “we have met and share several mutual friends.” They then began to detail how Nichols has a “well-known history of undermining and backstabbing fellow employees in order to steal their positions and/or opportunities.” In layman’s terms, Nichols acts as if she cares about Black people and diversity in front of the camera, while everything she does in private proves otherwise.

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