rachel nichols comments

Rachel Nichols is a female sports broadcaster, television host, reporter, and anchor. She started working for ESPN in 2004, left in 2013 to work for CNN and TNT. She returned in ESPN in 2016 and has been a host on The Jump, Pardon My Take, and Pardon the Interruption. She was named host of NBA Saturday Primetime and the NBA finals on ABC. She has recently been in the news for comments she made in July last year. She told LeBron James’ advisor Adam Mendelsohn that she believed that Maria Taylor got the plum spot hosting 2020 finals shows because of her race.

Issues of Privacy

Rachel Nichols made her comment on a phone call from a hotel room in Florida. It was recorded “accidentally” from a live camera in her room and quickly circulated around ESPN. The problem seems to constitute a violation of privacy. By definition, invasion of privacy allows an aggrieved party to bring a lawsuit against an individual who unlawfully intrudes into his or her private affairs, discloses his or her private information, publicizes him or her in a false light, or appropriates his or her name for personal gain.

Legal Trouble

OutKick founder Clay Travis said a lawsuit would likely be favorable for Rachel Nichols. His take on it was that “she was recorded without her knowledge in her hotel room, and someone at ESPN — maybe multiple people — then grabbed that audio of what she said and sent it out.” He thinks that “she would have a tort-related lawsuit based on the taping of this conversation and its dissemination … that would have clearly done injury to Rachel Nichols’ employment prospects.” Beyond the obvious, he also thinks that she could sue ESPN for “violating the terms of her contract”. 

She was blocked from coverage of the NBA Finals after what she said a year ago and her show was not broadcast by ESPN without warning.

Future for Rachel Nichols Comments

Rachel Nichols has since been on air with ESPN on her show, The Jump, though the controversy has not subsided, and people have questioned why she is allowed on air. Nichols has publicly apologized, but people are still criticizing her. ESPN wants her on because she is a good sports reporter, but the backlash may hurt her.

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“Diversity”

The NBA, television networks, and just about every major tv media has jumped onto the bandwagon of “diversity”, which really means one thing: it is bad to be white or male, even worse if you happen to be both. There is nothing inherently wrong with her comment. Advertisements shown during NBA games feature few whites, especially given that over 76% of Americans identify as Caucasian. Were these actors chosen because they were better at selling cars? So her questioning of ESPN’s choice was entirely valid. She also called into question ESPN’s track record of diversity.

ESPN Track Record

Rachel Nichols alluded to ESPN having a “crappy longtime record on diversity” and knowing “from the female side of it”.  ESPN has not had a great record when it comes to racism and sexism. Mendelsohn spoke out against how bad it is “to turn two women on each other to compete over the one spot that’s dangling over them”, with “all the spots that should be under consideration”. He was talking about the idea of appealing to women and minorities. The boardroom in his example, which is currently mostly white males, hires a woman and then replaces the woman with a black woman to appeal to both women and blacks. The office then has her and no one else representing any kind of diversity. It’s a way of getting around bringing real diversity in terms of percentages to a company. 

ESPN has had largely male broadcasters and minorities have claimed that it is harder to for them to rise to higher ranks within the company. That is sad if true, though it may arguably be a way to gripe to try to get a higher position. 

Analysis

It is hard to look at a company and make an assessment over whether an employee was hired due to race or not. It is horrible treat someone poorly for questioning it though. It reflects a double standard that minorities can question why they aren’t given higher positions where white people can’t question why they were removed from a position. Personally, I think it is dumb to try to have certain people in certain positions within a company. The positions should be filled with who has the most talent and who applies. Certain people inevitably gravitate toward certain things. Race and gender simply should not be a part of the selection process.

Written by: Miranda Smith

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