Comments made by LeBron James longtime public relations advisor last year during a call with Rachel Nichols is making waves this week when The New York Times dropped a damning report of the ESPN legend being upset and calling Maria Taylor a “diversity” hire when she was awarded the hosting job at NBA Countdown during the 2020 finals.
PR maven Adam Mendelsohn said on a call with Nichols, “I’m exhausted. Between Me Too and Black Lives Matter, I got nothing left,” The New York Times reported.
Nichols could be heard laughing of a storm.
CNBC noted Mendelsohn apologized for those specific comments in an email. Mendelsohn told CNBC, “I made a stupid, careless comment rooted in privilege and I am sincerely sorry.”
“I shouldn’t have said it or even thought it,” Mendelsohn said in an email.
“I work to support these movements and know that the people affected by these issues never get to be exhausted or have nothing left. I have to continue to check my privilege and work to be a better ally.”
Mendelsohn, like Nichols, was unaware that the conversation was captured by a video camera that transmitted images and audio from her hotel room at a resort at Walt Disney World in Florida. Mendelsohn has been an advisor to LeBron James for over a decade and even co-founded James’ Black voter promotion group More Than A Vote, and is senior advisor to the group.
More Than a Vote’s website notes that the group “launched amid the Black Lives Matter protests following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Our goal: Energizing, educating, and protecting Black voters.”
The Times article said that “many employees were outraged upon watching the video” because of their perception that Nichols was echoing “a common criticism used by white workers in many workplaces to disparage nonwhite colleagues — that Taylor was offered the hosting job only because of her race, not because she was the best person for the job.”
The bombshell report comes weeks before Taylor’s contract with ESPN is due to expire.