Only a few days after her departure from ESPN, Maria Taylor barely let the ink dry from her new contract with NBC before she headed to the Land of the Rising Sun for her first and very plum assignment: to cover this summer’s Olympics. “We are always looking to improve,” said NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua in a statement, “and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo.”
Along with the Olympics, the 34-year-old Georgia peach will also cover the NFL, as well as being a host and commentator of “Football Night in America” and the Super Bowl. Taylor has gracefully managed her exit from ESPN while her former employer continues doing damage control after Rachel Nichols’ leaked “diversity hire” remarks.
“Incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with Pete, Molly, Sam, Fred, and the entire NBC Sports family,” Taylor said in a statement. “Literally, hosting the Olympics, Football Night in America, and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started in television – and this would not be possible without standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me and made this path possible. And I plan to pay it forward.”
Meanwhile, Nichols’ public apology to Taylor has fallen on deaf ears, and ESPN received further heat for its tardy discipline of her. In the end, Nichols was bumped from the assignment of this year’s NBA Finals eventually went to Malika Andrews, who earned praise for exhibiting grace under pressure. However, bettors are already wondering if Nichols will still be with ESPN by year’s end.