Maria Taylor has a new job at NBC as a sports correspondent and host, just two days after quitting ESPN.
On Friday, NBC announced Taylor’s hire during their prime-time Tokyo Olympics presentation, which Taylor appeared in as a reporter from Tokyo.
Taylor left ESPN after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract despite months of negotiations. She also quit amid a backlash over racist statements made by a former coworker.
Taylor was given the opportunity to host the 2020 NBA Finals pregame and postgame shows because of her race, according to a leaked phone tape acquired by The New York Times from ESPN’s “The Jump” host Rachel Nichols, who is white.
Nichols said in a July 2020 call with Adam Mendelsohn, adviser to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, that Taylor, who is Black, was chosen for the job because ESPN executives felt they were under “pressure” to address the channel’s “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
After the Times published details of the call earlier this month, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro stressed in a memo to staff that Taylor had been selected for the role “because she earned it.”
During her eight years at ESPN, Taylor, 34, covered college football, the NFL Draft, and the NBA. Her most recent assignment with the network was hosting the NBA finals, which concluded on Tuesday.
Following her Olympic debut, Taylor will cover the NFL, including hosting NBC’s “Football Night in America” and Super Bowls, according to NBC.
“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events, and will be a powerful addition to our team,” NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement. “We are always looking to improve, and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo.”