Rachel Nichols has been one of the more prominent women in the sports television world for a long time at this point. She has worked with a lot of the major sports networks like TNT, CBS, and most notably ESPN, with whom she had two separate stints, with the second one ending in controversy.
Nichols had rejoined ESPN in 2016 after leaving in 2013 and things were going great for her as she had become one of the faces of the network. Her show The Jump earned a lot of praise and the network decided that she was to host the 2020 NBA Finals.
Rachel Nichols Reveals The Shocking Details Behind Her ESPN Scandal
She even had that written into her contract, but ESPN later came to Nichols asking her to step aside from Finals duty for Maria Taylor, something she wasn't keen on doing. She was informed around the time she was entering the Bubble that year that Taylor was going to take over Finals duties and Nichols expressed her frustration to Adam Mendelsohn during a phone conversation in which she stated that Taylor was getting the job because ESPN was coming under fire for their poor record when it came to diversity. The conversation was recorded discreetly, and it led to her being removed from sideline duty for the Finals, and she soon stopped appearing on the network. It was announced recently that she is joining Showtime after her release from ESPN earlier this year and Nichols spoke about how the conversation was recorded.
(starts at 5:52 mark):
"It was a different set of equipment than I had been using to broadcast at home. So my very first day I'm there I'm using the new equipment and I didn't know that if you leave a particular app running in the background that the line from my hotel room to Bristol would stay open."
"Unfortunately that entire time nobody back at ESPN told me that there was an open line to my hotel room and that anyone who looked at the feed could see me. No one shut it off, decided 'Oh she clearly doesn't know she's being watched unpacking.' or doing all these other things. And at least one person decided to just sit and watch, and started spying on me like I was their own personal TV show, and when they heard something they thought was juicy they picked up their cellphone and started recording my conversation on their cellphone."
How out of bounds you might feel Nichols was to say what she said during that call, it was wrong on ESPN's part to not tell her that the feed was active. Everyone has a right to privacy and whoever this individual was who spied on her should be ashamed.
Nichols now gets to move on from this as a part of the Showtime crew and it is not a surprise that she went there. Stephen Jackson was one of her most vocal defenders when this whole story came out and she now gets to work in a more welcoming environment over there.