ESPN announces Malika Andrews will replace Rachel Nichols at NBA Finals amid internal strife

Malika Andrews will work the 2021 NBA Finals as a sideline reporter for ESPN. The network announced Andrews would replace Rachel Nichols as its sideline reporter amid reports of internal strife following a leaked video in which Nichols questioned Maria Taylor's credentials.

The network made the announcement Tuesday, just hours before the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Finals. 

ESPN announces Malika Andrews will replace Rachel Nichols as sideline reporter during the NBA Finals: “We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host The Jump.”

— Ben Strauss (@benjstrauss) July 6, 2021

ESPN said it believed the change was the "best decision for all concerned."

The move comes just days after a bombshell report from the New York Times in which Nichols believed ESPN was only pushing Taylor due to the network's "crappy longtime record on diversity." Those comments reportedly caused strife within the network, particularly among those involved with ESPN's coverage of the NBA. 

Rachel Nichols apologizes for comments about Maria Taylor

Nichols opened "The Jump" on Monday by apologizing to Taylor for those comments. Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson also spoke about the situation, saying they also support Taylor.

While Nichols is being removed from sideline duty, she will continue to host "The Jump" during the NBA Finals. 

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