Just two days after leaving ESPN, Maria Taylor has a new gig: NBC’s new sports correspondent and host.
NBC formally announced Taylor’s hiring during its prime-time Tokyo Olympics show on Friday, which Taylor ― reporting from Tokyo ― appeared in.
“Olympic dream come true,” Taylor wrote on Twitter of her first NBC role.
Taylor’s departure from ESPN came after the two sides were unable, despite months of negotiations, to agree on a new contract. She also left amid controversy related to a former colleague’s racist remarks.
In a leaked phone recording obtained by The New York Times, ESPN’s “The Jump” host Rachel Nichols, who is white, suggested that Taylor had been granted the opportunity to host the 2020 NBA Finals pregame and postgame shows because of her race.
Nichols said in a July 2020 call with Adam Mendelsohn, adviser to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, that Taylor, who is Black, was chosen for the job because ESPN executives felt they were under “pressure” to address the channel’s “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
After the Times published details of the call earlier this month, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro stressed in a memo to staff that Taylor had been selected for the role “because she earned it.”
Taylor, 34, covered college football, the NFL Draft and the NBA during her eight-year tenure at ESPN. Her last gig with the channel was hosting the NBA finals, which ended Tuesday.
NBC said in a statement that Taylor, following her Olympics debut, would be covering the NFL ― including hosting NBC’s “Football Night in America” and Super Bowls.
“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events, and will be a powerful addition to our team,” NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement. “We are always looking to improve, and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo.”
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