When last we looked at the drama llama laugh riot that is ESPN, we had the entire organization featured prominently in the next issue of HR Done Really, Really Badly. Now, seemingly everyone wants in on the free cheap publicity being generated by the ridiculous tussle between Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor. Claiming their moment in the sun is the National Association of Black Journalists.
The NABJ, no members of which have apparently ever watched ESPN based on its press release’s screaming headline (“toxic culture of bias?” C’mon already), broke out most every available square on the Butthurt Bingo card in its effort to … um, something. Outraged! Disappointing! Disparaging! Rather like how the press release refers to Nichols as “a white sideline reporter and host of ‘The Jump,’” whereas Taylor is “a qualified, talented Black journalist, analyst, and host of ‘NBA Countdown.’” Apparently, the NABJ firmly believes belittling one side is a winning formula and Nichols got her job solely on the basis of her naturally curly red hair.
Ah, but it gets better:
Nichols’ comments and the actions that followed over the last year were not only disappointing but disparaging given the ongoing reports by Black journalists of white men advancing at ESPN because of their skin tone and not by merit.
The company’s actions could have alienated Taylor and left another Black employee punished for exposing the matter.
OMG!!! It could have alienated Taylor in the midst of her year-long petulance party featuring her refusal to accept Nichols’ private and public apology? The nerve! And ESPN had the unmitigated gall to discipline an employee who grabbed a video off of ESPN’s servers that should never have been there in the first place and share it with Taylor? How DARE they!
Here’s the money quote:
According to some reports
Those always one hundred percent accurate “some” reports.
the last time the matter was addressed on record was in a statement ESPN issued to Yahoo Sports in July 2020 that did not address the racial insensitivity on display:
Translation: ESPN didn’t immediately fire Nichols for … uh, venting.
“We are extremely disappointed about the leak of a private conversation. It’s indefensible and an intrusion on Rachel’s privacy.
Which it was. But who cares. SHE HURT MARIA’S FEEWEEINGS!
“As for the substance of the conversation, it is not reflective of our decision-making on staffing assignments for the NBA, which has largely been driven by the circumstances of the pandemic.”
Or Nichols’ contract, which stated she would have the gig ESPN gave to Taylor.
The press release goes on. The NABJ wants to meet with Disney head honcho Bob Iger. It demands action and change. Not that the press release in any fashion details said action and change, although one strongly suspects it involves handing Taylor the $8M a year she thinks she deserves in the face of ESPN’s collapsing viewership, revenue, and how it is slashing the salaries and/or laying off … um, white guys.
If you’re going to be aggrieved, have something to be aggrieved about. Violating another employee’s contract to give your preferred one a job, then watching your preferred one throw a twelve-month pout, then conveniently leaking the story to a sympathetic MSM outlet just as your preferred one is making ridiculous salary demands … no, this isn’t racism. It’s color-neutral ridiculousness.
Oh yes — Taylor has publicly commented, sort of:
During the dark times I always remember that I am in this position to open doors and light the path that others walk down. I’ve taken some punches but that just means I’m still in the fight. Remember to lift as you climb and always KEEP RISING ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ztSIx9CLpO
— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) July 7, 2021
Just when you thought this couldn’t get any more high school. But hey, we are now aware being offered only $5M a year is “dark times.” Who knew. And oh, to suffer such dark times.