Will Maria Taylor quit ESPN? Despite mega offer, Rachel Nichols scandal might be last straw
Maria Taylor's contract with ESPN is set to end in two weeks, and the network has offered her a $3 million deal
ESPN host Maria Taylor's name has dominated the headlines of late, after fellow host Rachel Nichols' insensitive and racially offensive remarks about her surfaced online. Following the massive controversy, Nichols was dropped by the sports network as the sideline reporter for the upcoming NBA Finals. As per latest reports, it is now uncertain whether Maria Taylor will continue working for ESPN in the wake of the scandal. This is despite the network presenting her with a staggering contract offer worth $3 million.
Rachel Nichols, who did not like ESPN's decision of selecting Taylor for hosting the NBA Finals last year, had criticized Taylor's credentials in private. In an unintentionally recorded call with Adam Mendelsohn and Rich Paul, Nichols said, "If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.” Presently, Nichols has been replaced by Emmy-nominated NBA reporter Malika Andrews.
Will Maria Taylor leave ESPN?
According to New York Post, ESPN has offered Taylor a lucrative deal of $3 million per year, which is around three times more than her current annual contract of $1 million. The deal will also expand her roles further as per the new contract. Currently, the 34-year-old is hosting the NBA Finals, NBA Countdown and serving as the sideline reporter for the college football national championship and NCAA Women's Tournament host.
In 2020, ESPN went through a financial setback due to the pandemic. Top-paid employees were requested to take 15 percent pay cuts at the time, to prevent layoffs. At that time, ESPN had offered Maria Taylor a deal that would have had escalated to $5 million eventually. But she had turned it down.
While Taylor has been offered a raise of $3 million, her fellow male host Stephen A Smith earns around $8 million at ESPN. Even then, New York Post states that $3 million is a significant raise at a time when the sports network is pruning salaries. For instance, 'SportsCenter' anchor Kenny Mayne left the media house after being asked to take a shocking 61 percent cut from his $1.7 million salary.
As per insider sources, presently Taylor might be having offers from both NBC and Amazon. Her present contract with ESPN is set to expire on July 20, 2021, which coincides with Game 6 of the NBA Finals. If the network fails to strike a new agreement with the host by then, it is uncertain whether she would cover an extended Suns-Bucks series in that case. Meanwhile, her representative has reached out to major networks with her contract winding down, but NBC and Amazon are the only ones showing interest as of now.