David Roberts, ESPN’s senior vice president of production, said in a statement that it was “mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned.”
“Rachel is an excellent reporter, host, and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
Nichols addressed the news on her Instagram page, dedicating a post to her crew from “The Jump.”
“Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people, talking about one [of] my favorite things,” Nichols wrote. “An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew — The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun.”
She added, “More to come …”
ESPN will have a new daily NBA show that will premiere sometime before the regular season begins in October. Roberts will also be responsible for revamping and finding a host for the network’s “NBA Countdown” show with Maria Taylor’s departure to NBC.
Nichols, who has more than a year remaining on her contract, has been an integral part of ESPN’s NBA coverage since she returned to the network in 2016. “The Jump” started in February that year and went from airing only during the season to a nearly year-round fixture. She was also the sideline reporter for most of ESPN’s top national games this season.
Her dismissal follows remarks she made about Taylor that were detailed in a report by The New York Times in July.
After learning that Taylor, who is black, would head ESPN’s studio show during the league’s restart at Walt Disney World, Nichols made controversial comments in a phone conversation that was recorded and then obtained by the newspaper.
She suggested that Taylor was selected because ESPN was “feeling pressure” on diversity.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world—she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity—which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it—like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away,” she was recorded saying.
According to the Sports Business Journal, “The Jump” will air for several more weeks with a different host.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.