Former ESPN Sports Reporter Rachel Nichols said on Showtime’s all smoke podcast this week that the leaked audio that led to her leaving the sports network was obtained by someone “spying” her in her hotel room.
Nichols joins Showtime Basketball as a sports reporter and host, her first NBA-focused appearance since she left ESPN for NBC Sports.
Speak with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the latest episode of the basketball podcast, Nichols spoke at length about her time at and unfriendly departure from the network.
“I was told, well, you’re not a team player, which every woman in business knows is code, right?” she said she was asked to step aside when hosting the NBA finals. “Women are supposed to be kumbaya. and team players. and helpful; men are aggressive sharks and stuff.”
About the leaked audio of Nichols talking about the then colleague? Mary TaylorNichols said someone could record her as she was unfamiliar with remote broadcast equipment during covid restrictions, resulting in a live “line” from her room,
“I didn’t realize that if you had a certain app running in the background, the line from my hotel room looking at my hotel room to Bristol would stay open,” she said.
Nichols described being in her room all day, doing things like unpacking and making phone calls, without anyone giving a warning.
“Unfortunately, no one at ESPN told me this whole time that there was an open line to my hotel room and that anyone watching the feed could see me,” she said. “Nobody shut it down, decided, Oh, she obviously doesn’t know she’s being watched, unpacking or doing all that other stuff.”
And it wasn’t just that it was open, but “at least” one person was actively watching.
“At least one person decided to just sit and watch and started spying on me like I was their own personal television show,” she said, including recording her phone conversations. “When they heard something they thought was, you see, they grabbed their cell phone and started recording my conversation on their cell phone.”
Nichols went over some of what she said and tried to explain her intent to Barnes and Jackson, who previously defended her. She also added that the person who recorded her has been on the tape for a year.
“They just kept it in their pocket,” she said, until they could use it for “leverage” in their own negotiations with the network.
The longer eight-minute clip was shared in a tweet that went viral on Saturday.
Watch the clips above courtesy of Showtime, via Ballislife on Twitter.
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]