It certainly hasn’t been the best week for ESPN given the ongoing saga involving Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor. Nichols, of course, was removed from coverage of the 2021 NBA Finals from the network after comments she made last summer recently surfaced in which she suggested Taylor was taking over some of her Finals responsibilities. NBA 2020 only because ESPN was trying to diversify its broadcasts, not because of Taylor’s merits. But we’re not going to go into all of these details again.
No, what we’re doing here today is looking at the fact that Taylor’s contract with ESPN expires in less than two weeks, July 20 to be exact, which actually means she might not. not be there if the series between the Phoenix Suns lasts seven games. . The “world leader” is said to have offered her numerous stay contracts, the last of which would earn her three times what she currently earns, but Taylor has not yet signed a new agreement.
And there’s a good chance she won’t be at all, as a few networks would be interested in her services. One of those networks is NBC, which could create a storyline in which Taylor and Drew Brees could work together, which would be pretty interesting considering what happened with these two last year.
Maria Taylor is said to have a $ 3 million offer on the ESPN table and interests from NBC and Amazon as well
It was recently reported that Taylor turned down a $ 5 million contract offer from ESPN last year, as she apparently sought an annual salary that rivals that of Stephen A. Smith, which brings in around $ 8 million. of the “world leader”. ESPN is now said to offer Taylor an annual salary of $ 3 million, down from last year’s offering as the network made cuts, but triples the amount she earns now.
Of course, given everything that’s been going on regarding Nichols, Taylor may not feel comfortable working for ESPN beyond July 20 and it has been reported that NBC and Amazon may be interested in doing it. come. As Amazon Prime Video should be the exclusive home of Thursday night football From 2022, Taylor could be used either as an assistant journalist or as a host.
It looks like there would be more options at NBC, where she could cover both college football and the NFL. With Mike Tirico expected to replace Al Michaels as play-by-play announcer for Sunday night football full-time after the 2021 season, Taylor could potentially replace Tirico as the host of the pre-match show, Football night in America. Switching to NBC would also give him a chance to work for the Super Bowl in February.
Drew Brees chose NBC Sports over ESPN
Shortly after announcing his retirement from the NFL, Brees announced he would be joining NBC Sports to serve as a studio analyst for Football night in America. He will also join Tirico and Kathryn Tappen for coverage of Notre Dame’s football network, while helping out at other events including the upcoming Olympics and Super Bowl 56 in February. It’s also possible that he’ll end up alongside Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth once NBC moves away completely from Michaels, who is set to retire after the coming season.
ESPN made a play for Brees to join Monday night football, apparently offering somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 6 million per year. But the NFL’s all-time passing yard leader (for now) has obviously turned them down and may soon find himself working alongside Taylor, who criticized him a lot last year.
If Taylor and Brees end up working together at NBC, it would certainly be interesting to see how the two interact given what happened between them last year.
For those who may have forgotten (or weren’t aware), Brees made headlines last June when he spoke out against those who kneel during the national anthem, claiming that he “would never agree with anyone disrespecting the flag of the United States.” America or our country ”, comments that have elicited a lot of negative reactions, because this subject has obviously been very controversial for years. Brees apologized (twice) and while some quickly accepted them, including his Saints teammate Michael Thomas, some didn’t believe him, including Taylor.
In an episode of ESPN First take with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, Taylor shared some passionate thoughts on Brees’ comments and subsequent apologies, all of which came about just a week after George Floyd died, claiming he would not have said what he said if he had any empathy for the black community to begin with.
“If you had been educated and forced to face issues … and had empathy in your heart, then you would have known that the black experience is not easy, especially when 70% of your league is. African American and these are the conversations should have had.
“My patience left my body when I saw George Floyd take his last breath. So if that hasn’t affected you and made you want to reassess how you’re going to approach an issue that includes racial injustice in our country after seeing this man die in the middle of the street, then something do not go.
Maria Taylor on Drew Brees
Taylor went on to say that Brees’ comments ignored the murder of unarmed blacks on the streets and that he was essentially revealing his real self by saying what he said.
Now imagine a scenario where Taylor is the host of Football night in America and Brees sits right next to her as a studio analyst. Would that make either of them uncomfortable? Would Taylor ask not to interact with Brees like she would at ESPN with Nichols? This second scenario seems impossible, doesn’t it? After all, NBC appealed to Brees specifically to have his number one responsibility Sunday night football.
One would hope that if Taylor left ESPN for NBC, she and Brees would just sit together and say things, which probably should have happened with Taylor and Nichols last summer when this whole ordeal began.
Of course, it’s possible that none of this will come up as Taylor could just re-sign with ESPN. But if she decides to get off the ship, NBC must face the situation from the get-go.
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