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ESPN’s Maria Taylor thanks team for support after white host fired for ‘degrading’ comment

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This photo from August 2910 shows ESPN’s Maria Taylor speaking at a private tennis clinic with Mercedes-Benz in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz)

A Chicago-area radio host was fired from his job after sending a “degrading” and sexist tweet about ESPN’s Maria Taylor during her “Monday Night Football” debut. 

Taylor thanked the many supporters who spoke up for her after the story went viral. “The people who fuel me. Are the people who support me,” she wrote on Twitter, “The only people who can affect me are the people who love me. I’m so thankful for my NBA Countdown family. Once again you’ve lifted me over a hurdle. And made me feel like a queen despite the noise.” 

“NBA Countdown” analysts Jalen Rose and Jay Williams gave her flowers and hugs as Rose thanked her for “your intellect, your beauty and your class in all situations.”

On Monday night, veteran sports radio host Dan McNeil tweeted then deleted an image of Taylor and captioned the photo, “NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN annual awards presentation?” 

AVN is Adult Video News, a trade magazine, and its yearly show is frequently hosted by pornography film stars. 

McNeil appeared to be criticizing Taylor’s outfit. She was clad in a faux-leather top.

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He was fired on Tuesday by Entercom Chicago, where he had been hosting a sports show on 670 The Score since 2018. 

“For each one of us, our words have power. For our brands and on-air personalities that is amplified and brings increased responsibility in how we chose to use our voices. Last night’s tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable,” Entercom Chicago executive Rachel Williamson wrote in an email to staff which was shared with the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We have the best teams in Chicago,” she continued, “and we must hold ourselves to high expectations to continue to be leaders in our organization, our industry and our community. We apologize to all who were offended by Dan’s words, especially Maria.” 

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Taylor was also supported by former ESPN show host Jemele Hill, who opined that the incident was “just another example of what women have to go through in this business.” 

Taylor has been a reporter and analyst for ESPN since 2014. She has been featured on “NBA Countdown,” “College GameDay,” “ABC Saturday Night Football” and “Get Up,” and she is in her first season with “Monday Night Football.”

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