ESPN most certainly sees themselves as more than just a sports network. Following the summer of 2020, ESPN began allowing its talent to openly discuss social issues on air. It was a complete reversal from ESPN’s edict a few years earlier, instructing its employees to “stick to sports,” keeping their political beliefs off of ESPN’s airwaves.
But, according to a new investigation by Project Veritas, not all is peachy inside of ESPN’s studios.
Tuesday night, Project Veritas released a video from an ESPN whistleblower, complete with conversations between the whistleblower and multiple ESPN employees.
Studio Operator Trevor Adams, who recorded the video and audio, shares an email he sent to the head of ESPN, detailing “racism,” “harassment and discrimination,” among other issues at ESPN.
The email was flagged by ESPN as a “security threat,” and the company sent police to Adams’ home to investigate, according to Project Veritas. Adams said his email to ESPN detailing issues in the workplace was met with support from many of his colleagues.
“A lot of people were cheering me on,” Adams said. “A lot of people said, ‘We’re glad you sent this. We hope something comes of it. We don’t think it will, but we’re glad that finally someone spoke up.’”
Adams told Project Veritas that he came forward because he has “witnessed lots of discrimination, racism” while working at ESPN.
The video also shows ESPN reporter Alyssa Lang detailing conversations she had about the company having too many white hosts.
“I know the comments that have been made to me at work and the conversations that have been had in front of me at work, like, I mean just blatantly racist s***,” Lang said. “Just blatantly, like, complaining to me that we have three white hosts, and I’m like, ‘What do you want me- do you want me to leave?’”
“It got to the point a couple weeks ago where I had to say to somebody, ‘Do you not know my work ethic?’ We’ve known each other for four years,” Lang continued. “Do I not deserve to be here? … At the end of the day, they’re choosing between us and social media reaction.”
Erik Swanson, ESPN Senior Video Editor, said ESPN shouldn’t “comment on anything” regarding social issues.
“I can’t look to them to do the right thing when it comes to social issues,” Swanson said. “We [ESPN] don’t know what we’re talking about, and we shouldn’t comment on anything about it company wide. There’s no reason. We’re [ESPN] not in this social s*** business. If you want to look for common comfort on it, how about this? Go to church or read the f***ing newspaper.”
Adams also accuses an ESPN employee of treating him differently for being a “Republican or Trump supporter.”
It’s been a tumultuous few months at ESPN, who found themselves in a major controversy regarding two of their on-air talents.
In July 2021, The New York Times reported on a private conversation between ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols and longtime LeBron James advisor Adam Mendelsohn that took place in July 2020. Nichols was covering the NBA restart while in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, at the time of the conversation.
In the conversation with Mendelsohn, which was inadvertently recorded, Nichols was discussing how she was recently informed by ESPN management that she would not be hosting ESPN’s pregame and postgame shows for the 2020 NBA Finals. Maria Taylor — a black woman and reporter — would be given the assignment.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said on July 13, 2020. “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
“I just want them to go somewhere else — it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing,” Nichols continued.
Nichols had not turned off the video camera placed in her room in order for her to perform her duties as host of “The Jump,” a popular NBA program on ESPN. Her conversation with Mendelsohn was recorded and sent to a server at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
Of the people who had access to the recording on ESPN’s server, one recorded it to a cell phone and shared with others. The recording eventually reached ESPN executives and set off a firestorm at the network, with many feeling that Nichols should be punished for what she said. The Times wrote: “They were especially upset by what they perceived as Nichols’s expression of 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.”
Nichols and ESPN came to an agreement in January, officially ending her time at the four-letter network. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the New York Post reported that Nichols was making between $1.5-$2 million per year, and had one year remaining on her contract. She is free to pursue other opportunities immediately.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.