Being forced to endure people we aren’t particularly fond of is something we’re all familiar with. Be it family, in-laws, co-workers, or whoever else, we’ve all been put in a position where we had to put on our game face for the greater good—or a paycheck.
Since moving on from ESPN in July and taking her talents to NBC, sportscaster Maria Taylor has expanded her repertoire to include serving as a correspondent during the Tokyo Olympics. And now comes the news that since leaving ESPN’s NBA Countdown in the rearview mirror, she’ll be joining former New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees as the new faces of NBC’s Football Night in America.
From NBC Sports:
Drew Brees and Maria Taylor are joining Football Night in America—the most-watched studio show in sports—for the 2021 NFL season. Brees, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, joins host Mike Tirico and Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy at the desk in Studio 1 at NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. The trio will deliver opinions, analysis and insight about that day’s NFL action, provide highlights of all Sunday games, and look ahead to that night’s Sunday Night Football game.
Maria Taylor will co-host FNIA and often be paired in Studio 1 with former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, who will provide in-depth analysis of the day’s biggest moments.
OK, so wait. Are we talking about the same Drew Brees who come out his neck last summer to say that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag” in reference to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and systemic racism? And are we talking about the same Maria Taylor who read him for filth on ESPN’s First Take for making those very same, completely off-base comments?
“If you had been educated and forced to confront the issues, and, like I said, had empathy in your heart, then you would have known the black experience is not easy. Especially when 70 percent of your league is African-American and these are the conversations that you should have had,” she said in response to a public apology Brees had issued. “My patience left my body when I watched George Floyd take his last breath. So, if that didn’t affect you and make you want to reassess the way that you’re going to address a question that includes racial injustice in our country after you watched that man die in the middle of the street, something’s off. I don’t know if it’s your heart. I don’t know if it’s your mind. But I don’t accept either of them anymore. I will not tolerate it anymore. Drew Brees, I will accept your apology. But I don’t have to sit here and wonder what is wrong or what is right and guess if you’re a good or bad person. I am not the judge and/or the jury.
“All I can do is let you reveal yourself, and countless people are doing that right now. And for the first time ever, they are reaping some kind of consequence that does not have any retaliation for me or the people that are calling them out. For the first time, I feel like I can go on TV and say certain things. For the first time, people feel that they can tweet certain things, and people can be held accountable for the things that they are putting on display in the public. And I’m not going to apologize for that.
“Shame on you. Would Drew Brees do this if there was no backlash? […] Did your heart actually change? You were not doing the right things before, and I really wonder why the apology is happening now.”
Well, this is awkward.
Taylor then went on to share a screenshot of text messages she received in response to her calling out Brees.
“I don’t know how you got my number,” she tweeted. “But I don’t care how much you guys harass me, I will still use my voice passionately and decisively right now, so that others can be heard later.”
But apparently, Brees and Taylor have since squashed whatever tensions existed between the two of them as they embark on their new roles at NBC.
Everybody say “cheese!”
I look forward to watching Maria continue to cook at NBC; and hopefully, she’ll be just as passionate about social issues on-air at NBC as she was during her stint at the worldwide leader in sports.
Even if it comes at her new “teammate’s” expense.