Maria Taylor has seen her name plenty in recent headlines after a private conversation from her ESPN colleague Rachel Nichols went wide and accused her of being a simple diversity hire. The famed sports network is seeking to retain the talented Taylor, but rival NBC Sports has applied pressure and is working to secure her services across the network’s popular brands and shows.
Front Office Sports reports that Taylor has been at the center of negotiations between the rival networks, all made especially interesting due to the fact that the Nichols conversation landed Taylor into the coveted position of covering the NBA Finals on ESPN’s NBA Countdown program but her contract with the network ends on July 20. Sources are saying that Taylor has been offered $3 million by ESPN, triple her current salary, but is said to be seeking as much as $5 million.
The 34-year old Taylor has been at loggerheads with ESPN executives over a new contract. While the Worldwide Leader in Sports is offering to triple her salary to $3 million per year, said sources, Taylor is seeking $5 million or more. Those figures could put her ahead of NFL insider Adam Schefter on the salary chart, said sources, but behind Mike Greenberg ($6 million) and Stephen A. Smith ($12 million).
ESPN has a dogged record on Black reporters and analysts leaving its ranks for various reasons such as Jemele Hill and Cari Champion among others, although it still has a diverse lineup of personalities in Elle Duncan, Malika Andrews, and Lisa Salters among many others.
If the network fails to resign Taylor, it could mean another hosting switch for the NBA Finals considering that Game 6 is next Tuesday (July 20) and that a potential Game 7 would take place on July 22.