ESPN offers Maria Taylor $3M contract amid Rachel Nichols fallout

With her contract set to expire amid a tumultuous NBA Finals for ESPN, Maria Taylor reportedly has a roughly $3 million salary offer on the table to remain at the network.

She also has other suitors.

The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported on Thursday that ESPN has offered the 34-year-old reporter and TV host a roughly $2 million raise over her current yearly salary of $1 million. 

The report arrives as the network deals with the fallout from reporter and host Rachel Nichols’ 2020 comments suggesting that Taylor, who is Black, was awarded her job as “NBA Countdown” host during the NBA Finals because of a diversity effort rather than her merits. 

Nichols, who is white, had shared hosting duties with Taylor during the 2019-20 regular season and expected to host the show during the Finals. 

Maria Taylor’s contract at ESPN is set to expire before a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals. (Doug Buffington/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Will Maria Taylor consider staying at ESPN amid fallout?

Nichols made the comments not realizing she was being recorded while in the NBA bubble in June 2020. Taylor has reportedly refused to work directly with Nichols since her comments were leaked internally at ESPN. Her comments went public on Sunday in a New York Times report, more than a year after they were made and two days before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Nichols was replaced as the network’s sideline reporter for the NBA Finals by Malika Andrews after the Times report. According to the Times, ESPN didn’t initially discipline Nichols for her comments but did suspend a Black woman producer who shared the recording internally, fueling speculation that Taylor is unhappy with ESPN’s treatment of Black employees. Taylor has not addressed the issue publicly outside of a Wednesday tweet referencing “dark times.”

Taylor’s contract ends before potential Game 7

Taylor’s contract will expire on July 20, the same day Game 6 of the NBA Finals will be played, if needed. The uncertainty of Taylor’s contract status looms large over the network’s coverage. 

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Will she be satisfied with ESPN’s reported $3 million offer? Will she be comfortable working for the network after the Nichols fallout?

According to Marchand, she has options. NBC and Amazon are both interested in hiring Taylor, according to the report. Taylor has a strong background covering football and could presumably join NBC’s NFL and college football coverage or Amazon’s team covering the NFL with its upcoming Thursday Night Football package. 

What Amazon and NBC are willing to offer Taylor was not reported. 

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