Although it was initially believed that the PR adviser for Rachel Nichols, Maria Taylor, and her fiance, LeBron James were behind the recent drama in the Nichols-Taylor relationship, they have now issued a statement apologizing.
In a way, the entire drama surrounding LeBron James and Rachel Nichols is a perfect metaphor for what’s wrong with the sports PR industry.
ESPN is facing a new crisis of its own making as the conflict between Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor continues to simmer. But there are possible consequences on the other side of this turmoil. Another principle in the infamous case is LeBron James’ public relations advisor.
Adam Mendelsohn’s mission is to help individuals and organizations overcome the confusion of public relations. Now, however, Mendelsohn must seek some advice of his own.
LeBron James has yet to comment on the situation. This is probably due to the fact that he has had to deal with a few fires himself.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols visited the NBA bubble in Central Florida in July 2020. There she learned that the station had assigned some of her duties to Maria Taylor. Nichols was particularly unhappy about losing his job hosting the pre- and post-game shows during the NBA Finals.
Nichols accidentally recorded the conversation with Mendelsohn. This footage was then forwarded to ESPN headquarters. Deadspin then got a copy. The original story in 2020 didn’t generate much traction. In the second cycle of short stories, it spreads like wildfire.
Mendelsohn apologized for his role in the conversation, in which he referenced the #MeToo sexual assault movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. In an email to CNBC, Mendelson expressed regret.
I made a stupid and reckless comment based on privilege, and I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have said it, or even thought it. I work to support these movements and I know that the people affected by these problems are never exhausted or left with nothing. I need to keep checking my privileges and working on being a better ally.
Today, Mendelssohn’s apology is powerful. He looked genuinely sad. Will this be enough to satisfy his known activist client?
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers has already had a tumultuous offseason. | Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
If LeBron James hasn’t yet spoken out about his PR advisor’s gaffe, it’s probably for this reason. James drew a lot of attention over the Independence Day weekend. His altercation with the announcer at the AAU tournament. Because it happened during a game his son Bronny was playing in, it became an event.
He was also criticized by Shaquille O’Neal (explicitly) and Chris Paul (less explicitly) for his recent complaints about this season’s NBA roster. James attributed the tight schedule to a series of injuries that occurred during the NBA playoffs.
O’Neill didn’t hold back for long.
When you live in a world where 40 million people are laid off and I make 200 million, I can’t complain. I played from one to the other, from one to the other, from one to the other.
Paul just wanted to point out that the players have a say in the programming decisions.
LeBron James has not yet commented on the matter ESPN. But now he’s promoting the film. The probability of this problem occurring should be high.
The Nichols incident is not the first time ESPN has been at the center of a media storm. In July 2020, another ESPN figure was embroiled in another case.
In July 2020, Dave LaMont called a two-hour conference call on racial issues an outlet. His comments came up in conversation, and Taylor encouraged him to do so. ESPN reportedly considered firing LaMont, but decided to keep him anyway.
Maria Taylor’s contract is about to expire. There are reports that she is demanding money from Stephen A. Smith should stay with ESPN. Can a conflict with another journalist give him extra pressure in contract negotiations? It is possible.
What Rachel Nichols did was definitely wrong. Adam Mendelsohn has some work to do to save his reputation after this incident. LeBron James may have something to say about Mendelsohn’s future role with the NBA superstar.
The best strategy, of course, is to stop being insensitive, cruel, racist, sexist, or any other -ist. In the 21st century. In the 21st century, if there is more than one person in a group, chances are someone is recording what is happening. Views based on genetic factors are met with strong reactions.
COMPARED TO: Adrian Wojnarowski is asked about the Rachel Nicholsfiasco by an ex-colleague on ESPN.
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