Maria Taylor and ESPN announced the two were parting ways after both sides failed to agree on a contract extension. In a joint statement, it was revealed that last night's coverage of the NBA Finals was Taylor's final assignment for the network.
"Maria's remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic," ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. "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. While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we've done together."
It was previously reported that Taylor was offered a raise from her current $1 million annual salary to nearly $5 million. She reportedly declined the offer, seeking nearly $8 million per year.
Taylor's departure also comes after The New York Times published 2020 audio of colleague Rachel Nichols insinuating Taylor earned her NBA Finals hosting job because she's Black. Nichols was subsequently replaced by Malika Andrews as the sideline reporter for the NBA Finals despite issuing a public apology.
In her joint statement with ESPN's Chairman, Taylor said, "So thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women's and Men's college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family -- the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up. Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud."