Rachel Nichols filming The Jump from her hotel room.

One of the stranger sports media stories in some time revolves around recordings of a phone conversation ESPN’s Rachel Nichols had in her hotel room in Orlando. The video feed used for Nichols’ show The Jump (which she’s been shooting in her room during quarantine ahead of the NBA resuming play; a screengrab from the actual show is seen above) was somehow running while she wasn’t aware of that, and it captured her discussing ESPN staffing decisions and more in a phone conversation with an unidentified party. We know this because an ESPN employee recorded portions of this video feed on their phone and cut them up, and someone then sent some of those clips to (G/O Media’s attempted revival of) Deadspin.com.

A story posted on Deadspin.com on this late Wednesday night details that they received about four minutes of footage from this conversation (which was reportedly about 30 minutes long), and says “the videos were sent to Deadspin as an attempt to discredit Nichols’ job status within ESPN, and with the public at large, with the anonymous source texting our reporter that the videos would “expose” Nichols as a “back-stabber” and a phony ally.” The site didn’t post those videos, but said they didn’t live up to those claims. But the more interesting elements of this are that Nichols was somehow recorded without her knowledge, that an ESPN employee then recorded clips from that recording and passed them around, and that someone then leaked them externally. As per TMZ, ESPN has condemned this in a statement:

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.