ESPN Anchor Maria Taylor to Leave After Contract Talks Fail

Maria Taylor, the ESPN anchor drawn into a controversy over diversity by a colleague, is leaving the network after talks to renew her contract failed.

The Walt Disney Co.-owned channel said in a joint statement with Taylor Wednesday that her final broadcast was Tuesday’s NBA championship.

ESPN Anchor Maria Taylor to Leave After Contract Talks Fail

“There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in the statement.

Taylor, 34, joined the network in 2014 as a college sports analyst and reporter. She was a host of the “NBA Countdown” program in addition to offering football commentary.

A colleague, Rachel Nichols, was recorded during a private conversation suggesting that Taylor’s promotion was an effort on the part of the network to meet diversity goals. Nichols apologized to Taylor and her colleagues.

The New York Post reported that Taylor recently turned down a significant salary increase from ESPN and is headed to NBC.

In the statement announcing her departure, Taylor thanked “the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me and lifted me up,” adding that “words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud.”

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