Someone speaks their truth to a close friend, about their disappointment in being demoted from their position, and they invoke race into the conversation. This person is presumably speaking in a safe space as a white woman, to a white man who has very prominent black clients. This white woman is one of the most prominent media faces and voices covering a predominantly black sports league.
Rachel Nichols had a “hot mic” moment of all “hot mic” moments. And now all the knives are out, and people are wanting to get paid, and find their way to make their name. Sheeet…I’m writing a blog post about this, as I have something I want to say on the matter, in my own little way. Only difference between me and other prominent names weighing in, is that I’m writing this as a hobby/passion. I have zero expectations of this running on espn.com or being mentioned on sports center or first take or any other hot sports show people tune into.
Thank goodness for Adam Silver, and his wise and reasoned take on this matter. I’m left wondering, why Rachel Nichols is being painted with such a rough brush? I’m also left wondering, what it’s like for Maria Taylor right now? Why am I annoyed that there are rumors that she sat on this story for a long time and had her people leak it to the NY Times so that it could give her more leverage in negotiating “phat” a new contract? Would I question Stephen A. Smith’s morality for doing something like that? Why do I even care if she’s looking to get more money from a billion dollar company?
Something just doesn’t sit right with me, though. How ESPN let this escalate and fester for nearly a year, and to watch it come to a head now. To pin a white woman against a black woman, in an industry dominated by men, more so white men, but still men. It’s heart-breaking to me. How everyone seems to need to have a take on this. How identity politics is magnified by this. How this is all occurring on the NBA’s largest stage and most celebrated time of year. I don’t blame Adam Silver for being pissed. Or for the Black Journalist Association to demand a meeting with top ESPN and Disney Executives. Nobody looks good from this.
If I really look at this from a strategic lens, however; Maria Taylor has schooled everyone in this controversy. Whether she had her people plant the NYT story or not, she seems a step ahead of everyone on this. How ESPN was so flat-footed. How Rachel Nichols didn’t try to pre-empt this or even just leak her own story of what happened. Like, wow! So many big names in this too. For me to see Jalen Rose’s daughter make a two minute TikTok video slamming Rachel Nichols, and spilling a lot of info. It was entertaining, informative and cringe-worthy.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to know all this crap, and all this jockeying for who has that seat for the NBA Pregame show. Honestly, the show isn’t even that good. And it’s weird as they could legit copy TNTs template and make it a real show . It has been mentioned ad-nauseam. But, to read how this multi-billion dollar sports juggernaut couldn’t manage this problem much earlier. Like WOW!!!
Anyhow, there is nothing I said on here that hasn’t already been documented, or discussed on message boards already. I just needed to process what the heck has been swirling around.
PS – If you enjoyed this post of mine, you might enjoy others related to politics and the nba, such as this one – https://joshoffthepress.com/2019/10/15/the-nba-china-a-geo-political-affair/
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