NPR used the wrong picture in a story about ESPN reporter Maria Taylor leaving the network which resulted in criticism and mockery for the mistake.
On Wednesday, NPR reported that Taylor would be leaving the sports network weeks after the release of leaked comments from a colleague targeting her. However, NPR mistakenly used a photo of fellow ESPN reporter Kimberley Martin in their article.
The mistake was later pointed out by Martin on her Twitter account.
“Cmon guys…. We don’t *ALL* look alike,” Martin tweeted. “I promise you, @NPR…That’s *not* Maria Taylor. It’s me.”
NPR later replaced the image with one of Maria Taylor and delivered an apology on their Twitter account.
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“Because of an error in an AP caption, this post previously featured an image of ESPN reporter Kimberley Martin instead of Maria Taylor. We apologize for the error,” NPR tweeted.
NPR blamed the Associated Press for the mistake and claimed the original picture they used was labeled as being Maria Taylor. Oklahoma Sports editor Jeff Patterson shared of the AP image and the description.
Various Twitter users slammed NPR for what they viewed as a racially charged issue.
“What’d they do? Google espn female black reporter and pick that one? Figured the odds were in their favor they were right? Swing and a miss geez..” one user tweeted.
Another tweeted, “Can’t blame them. I mean, you can. AP did get it wrong. But *you, posting a story about Maria, didn’t know what she looked like. Passing the buck is not a good look.”
Taylor’s departure from ESPN followed the release of leaked tapes from the New York Times that featured NBA reporter Rachel Nichols criticizing Taylor’s position in reporting the NBA finals and suggesting it was due to affirmative action.
“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,” Nichols said.
Nichols was shortly fired following the release of these tapes.
Taylor was reportedly looking to work with NBC to report the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, but no official statement has been made.
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The official statement from ESPN stated, “ESPN and Maria Taylor jointly announced today that after much discussion, an agreement on a contract extension could not be reached. As a result, Maria’s last assignment for ESPN was last night’s NBA Finals telecast.”
Taylor also commented “So thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family—the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up. Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud.”