Turner Sports reporter Rachel Nichols will not cover Saturday night’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
After a saga that began when Nichols and ESPN/HBO’s Michelle Beadle tweeted that they were being banned from covering the bout, Nichols released a statement that contradicted the explanation given by Mayweather’s camp:
Have had a bunch of folks asking questions about the Mayweather issue. Here’s what happened: After asking tough questions of Floyd Mayweather on my program, I was not offered press credentials to cover tonight’s fight. In an email dated April 23, I was told I would only be credentialed for the run-up events through the week, but in bold, italic letters the email stated “you do not have any access Saturday to any services or events.” A CNN producer revisited the issue with the Mayweather camp on April 29, confirming to Mayweather’s publicist that I would be in Las Vegas, and the publicist replied that I would still be denied a fight night credential. I was told the same thing when I arrived at the credential office in person on May 1, by two separate officials, in front of several other people. It doesn’t surprise me that now, after facing significant backlash, the Mayweather camp has reversed its position. But despite this, and other outside parties generously offering me their seats, I will not attend the fight. I will also not let fear of retaliation prevent me from asking the tough questions the public deserves answers to in the future.
That matches Jeremy Schaap’s report that Mayweather’s camp blocked Nichols and reversed the decision. Schaap also reported that Mayweather Promotions denied Beadle on Friday night and reversed that upon appeal.
Prior to Nichols’ statement, Mayweather’s publicist Kelly Swanson denied that Nichols and Beadle’s credentials had been revoked, without offering much more detail. Earlier in the day, Beadle explained that she was given similar treatment.
All of this looks very bad for Floyd Mayweather and his camp, particularly because Nichols and Beadle shed light on the boxer’s history of domestic violence.
The reporters were simply doing their jobs, and have now elected to take a stand by not attending the fight.