ESPN has dug itself a hole due to its handling of the controversy involving Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor. Mike Golic, a former longtime employee for the Worldwide Leader, thinks ESPN should be embarrassed.
The Nichols-Taylor situation began last year in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. Nichols was caught on a hot mic having a conversation with one of LeBron James’ top advisors.
During the conversation, the host of The Jump revealed ESPN had contacted her about wanting to give Taylor a few of Nichols’ NBA Finals responsibilities. Nichols then went on to allude to the fact ESPN was only doing so to improve its record on diversity.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world. She covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said on a call with LeBron James’ longtime advisor Adam Mendelsohn. “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.”
It isn’t a good look for Nichols, and obviously puts Taylor in an awkward position. Taylor’s contract with ESPN expires later this month, and she may end up moving on from the network in light of the recent events.
Golic thinks ESPN should be embarrassed with how its handled the entire situation. The Worldwide Leader could’ve smoothed things over by simply getting Nichols and Taylor together with a member of upper management to talk things over.
“Here’s my problem and it’s been my problem with a lot of things over time whether it’s at ESPN or anywhere else. It’s communication,” Golic said during an episode of StuPodity, via Barrett Media Sports. “Communicate more. You let this situation get bad…Somebody higher up at ESPN needs to get involved and say listen, you guys both work for this company, we’re all going to get in one room and we’re going to talk about this. The lack of face-to-face meetings with people to talk about anything, things that need to be talked about, to me is embarrassing.
“This had been a year old. Somebody in leadership needs to step in and say ok, that person’s texting and you aren’t responding to the texts. No, we are going to the same room. We are going to be in the same room and talk about it. I have said this from Day 1 and I learned this from my parents, especially from my father. You deal with people face-to-face, voice-to-voice during COVID. Even if it is the aftermath and you are trying to clean things up, get face-to-face, somehow, someway. One party wanted to, the other didn’t, and that’s fine, but that’s when leadership needs to take charge.”
A simple conversation between Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor could’ve been a saving grace for ESPN. Instead, the company has elected to hope the story fades out.
We have a hard time believing that will happen, especially considering Taylor has to soon make a decision on her current renewal offer from ESPN.
It certainly seems like ESPN could use more people like Mike Golic in leadership positions.