News and Commentary

Michele Tafoya, Long-Time ‘Sunday Night Football’ Sideline Reporter, Leaving After 2021 Season
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 14: NBC "Sunday Night Football" sideline reporter Michele Tafoya speaks during a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 41-14. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

You can add another name to the list of well-known sports personalities who will be moving on from their position of many years. 

On Monday, the New York Post learned that longtime “Sunday Night Football” reporter Michele Tafoya will not be returning to the sidelines at the conclusion of the NFL season. 

Tafoya has been in her role with NBC since 2011, covering four Super Bowls for the network. Before joining NBC, Tafoya worked for ABC/ESPN, joining the network in 2000 and working as a sideline reporter for “Monday Night Football” beginning in 2006. 

The Post is reporting that the decision is Tafoya’s. 

She has not been seen on the sidelines since the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day games, missing three consecutive broadcasts, which NBC said were due “bye weeks” given to reporters.  

The news comes over a month after Tafoya’s November 2nd appearance on “The View,” in which she said there were “two sides” to the Colin Kaepernick story following the release of his documentary “Colin in Black and White.”

In the series, Kaepernick compared the NFL Combine to the slave trade. 

“No one pressures them, they’re not forced to go into the NFL,” Tafoya said. “I’ve been covering the NFL for 25 years. Nobody forces these guys to play … I give Colin all the credit in the world for taking a stand and I support free speech 1000%. But I thought comparing it to the slave trade was a little rough. It did the trick, it got a lot of attention about this special.” 

“But these guys enter willingly … And every one of them, black, white, latino, will tell you how much they love it,” Tafoya continued. “And they’re willing to do it, and they make a damn good living.” 

The hosts of “The View” went on to discuss how they felt that owners have “colluded” to keep Kaepernick out of football.  

“I just want to give the benefit of the doubt to some people that there are two sides to the story. I think all of us can agree that there is probably a lot to this story we still don’t know,” Tafoya said. 

“You’re all going to groan at me. Bring it on,” Tafoya said to the audience as they reacted to her statements on Kaepernick. 

Tafoya is the second major sports analyst to leave her job this year, with ESPN and NBA reporter Rachel Nichols parting ways in August. 

Nichols found herself in hot water after a conversation between herself and longtime LeBron James advisor Adam Mendelsohn was inadvertently recorded and leaked. The conversation took place in Nichols’ hotel room in Orlando, Florida, while in the NBA bubble, where the 2020 NBA Playoffs were taking place. Nichols had recently been informed by management that she would not be hosting ESPN’s pregame and postgame shows for the NBA Finals. Taylor — who is black — 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.” 

After issuing a public apology, Nichols’ show “The Jump” was cancelled and ESPN announced that she would no longer be part of ESPN’s NBA coverage moving forward. 

“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” ESPN Senior VP/Production David Roberts said in a statement. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”

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 protected].

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Michele Tafoya, Long-Time ‘Sunday Night Football’ Sideline Reporter, Leaving After 2021 Season