Nolte: ESPN Is What Happens When You Push ‘Diversity’ for ‘Diversity’s’ Sake

ESPN's Maria Taylor works from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Miami and Florida Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Dear ESPN: When you say you are going to hire people based on skin color and gender, people might start to believe you are hiring people based on skin color and gender.

This whole racial brouhaha at far-left ESPN was laughably predictable. For years, the social justice sports network has been running around bragging about its push to hire women and minorities, and now it has a huge mess on its hand, one that anyone with a brain could have seen coming a mile away.

Rachel Nichols is one of the network’s biggest stars, and now her job and reputation are on the line.

Here’s a quick recap…

Back in July of 2020, during the China Virus lockdowns, Nichols (who is white) was doing most of her broadcasting from a hotel room, which means there was always a camera in the room with her. Well, one day, when this camera was apparently not shut off properly, it not only recorded everything, it sent the recording to a server accessible to ESPN employees.

And so, after her colleague, Maria Taylor (who is black), received some of Nichols’ contractually arranged on-air reporting duties, Nichols was caught on tape commiserating with someone on the phone about it, and this is the part that created a racial firestorm:

I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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.

The video spread far and wide at ESPN, eventually made its way to the far-left New York Times, and now Nichols — who did nothing wrong — has been forced to apologize and just lost a prestigious role covering the upcoming NBA finals.

What’s happening right now is grossly unfair to Nichols, grossly unfair to Taylor, and entirely the fault of ESPN and its condescending, un-American “diversity” push. Here’s an excellent example from 2018 of ESPN bragging about how awesome ESPN is:

Among the most important things to note is the role played by ESPN in these key categories. ESPN formed a substantial part of the totals for women and people of color who were sports editors, assistant sport editors and columnists. This success and the leadership ESPN has shown is largely due to the conviction of its former president, John Skipper.

My first meeting with Skipper was in December 2011, when he and ESPN editor John Walsh visited me to help them create a more diverse and inclusive workplace at ESPN. I was more than impressed by the commitment. Skipper has become a close friend and has been an impactful voice within ESPN and in the sports world in general when it comes to diversity and inclusion. He became a true advocate for increasing opportunities for women and people of color in the media.

So ESPN is running around bragging about how it is hiring people based on gender and skin color, and Rachel Nichols is now America’s latest Racial Pariah for believing them, for taking them at their word.

And poor Maria Taylor, also a victim of ESPN’s racial pandering, now lives under a cloud that questions whether she was hired for her talent and merit or because her skin happens to be a certain color.

Whether you are a three-employee landscaping company or a behemoth such as ESPN/Disney, the moment you decide you are going to hire people based on skin color, the moment you decide to make it public in a self-serving effort to win unearned plaudits from America’s wretched Beautiful People, you undermine the confidence and respect of every racial minority and woman you hire.

Imagine how every one of ESPN’s Maria Taylors must feel living and working under this cloud; wondering about yourself, wondering what your colleagues might think. Even if you were hired based solely on merit, these obscene diversity pushes undermine you regardless.

Now imagine you are Rachel Nichols, pushed aside for a job and having no choice but to wonder if it had to do with the color of your own skin.

Companies that go out of their way to advertise open positions in black neighborhoods, in black newspapers, on black radio, at black universities… That is nothing but commendable. Expanding your search for the most qualified person by deliberately casting your net into black America is what every company should do.

That is not what ESPN says it did, and that is not what ESPN bragged about. Here is more from that 2018 article. Here is ESPN keeping score:

Of the 70 people of color who are assistant sports editors, 51 work for ESPN. If the ESPN assistant sports editors of color were removed, the overall percentage of assistant sports editors of color would drop from 24 percent to 8 percent. Of the 89 women who were assistant sports editors, 75 worked for ESPN. If the ESPN assistant sports editors who are women were removed, the overall percentage of female assistant sports editors would drop from 30 percent to 6 percent.

ESPN also had a significant effect on the percentage of female columnists at the largest newspapers and websites. Of the 44 women who were columnists at this level, 38 worked for ESPN. Of the 44 women, four were African-American, one was Latina and two were Asian. All 11 women of color were employed by ESPN. If the ESPN columnists who are women were removed, the overall percentage of female columnists would drop from 19 percent to 3 percent.

What are people supposed to think when they see something like this?

What is Rachel Nichols supposed to think?

What is poor Maria Taylor supposed to think?

ESPN brags about hiring people based on their skin color, and Rachel Nichols believed them, and now she’s being treated like a racist monster.

This is not only appalling behavior on ESPN’s part; it is appalling behavior on the part of those making Nichols the villain.

Maybe Maria Taylor would have been hired without ESPN’s stupid diversity push. What’s so grossly unfair to her and Nichols is that we don’t know. We’ll never know.

The irony, of course, is that Nichols was a big, dumb, empty-headed cheerleader for ESPN’s diversity push, so maybe it’s Maria Taylor who deserves our sympathy.

Nichols, not so much.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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