Opinion: Rachel Nichols' Recent Remarks & 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo

July 07, 2021

The New York Times recently released an article around Rachel Nichols' remarks, titled "A Disparaging Video Prompts Explosive Fallout Within ESPN". (Linked below) When I initially read this story about the comments that ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols made regarding Maria Taylor's hire, I thought it was a case of disparaging within the workplace, that Nichols should have be disciplined, and then it's a closed story. However, this article shows that the issue is much bigger than Nichols as it is about equity, diversity, and inclusion within the entire ESPN workplace. ESPN has not disciplined Nichols over her comments, and their handling of the matter is why ESPN could have a workplace disruption and Maria Taylor could leave as soon as her contract expires during the upcoming 2021 NBA Finals.

I believe the bottom line is: just because someone who was black was hired over someone who was white, it did not mean it was a "diversity" hire, which was the comment made by Nichols. At the end of the day, what matters is whether you have the ability to get the job offer, regardless of your age, gender, and ethnicity. Your appearance will always be a part of who you are, but what gets you a job will not be what you have naturally, but what you would offer to the table with your skills, strengths, things that you have worked for, etc.

For example, 26-year-old & two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo is 6' 11 and 245 pounds with freak athleticism and is a force that no one can reckon with on the basketball court. Yet, some say he is just incredibly gifted and that he has no skillset, cannot shoot the basketball well, and always end up relying on his athleticism and size against better opponents. However, what some fail to realize is, when Antetokoumpo came into the league in 2013 as an 18-year-old, he weighed just 190 pounds. Over several years of perhaps the most intense and freakish body training any basketball player could ever complete, he has gained 50 lbs of pure muscle.

Maybe his athleticism was a gift, but he would have never accomplished what he has done in his career today, a two time MVP, if it was not for the work he put in to improve his strength and among other aspect of his skills. In short, back to ESPN, it is undeniable that Taylor deserved her success of being selected by ESPN to cover the 2020 NBA finals over Nichols, just like Antetokoumpo deserved his two MVP trophies.



Draper, Kevin. “A Disparaging Video Prompts Explosive Fallout Within ESPN.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 July 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/07/04/sports/basketball/espn-rachel-nichols-maria-taylor.html?smid=li-share.

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