Michele Tafoya will no longer be the sideline reporter for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” after this season, according to a report.
NBC’s coverage of the upcoming Super Bowl in February is expected to be her final appearance on the sideline for the network, the New York Post reported. It was not clear what her role would be afterward.
The apparent decision comes several weeks after Tafoya was criticized for making comments about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
Tafoya returned to NBC for a few games after “The View,” but has been missing from NBC’s NFL coverage since Thanksgiving Night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints.
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NBC called her absence “bye week” because speculations swirled about whether something was wrong with Tafoya/NBC’s relationship, as reported by the Post.
Sports analyst Bill Simmons drew attention to Tafoya’s prolonged absence earlier this week on his podcast.
“She was in the conservative seat,” Simmons said about Tafoya’s “View” appearance, “Then a couple weeks later, all of a sudden, just on a bye [from NBC]. Take a break.
Tafoya (56), a California native, is now with NBC. She joined NBC after previous stints at ABC/ESPN and CBS. Five Emmy Awards have been given to her for sports reporting.
She and her co-hosts on “The View,” Nov. 3, had a heated debate about Kaepernick at the same time Netflix’s special “Colin In Black and White” was released.
Tafoya and “View” co-host Sunny Hostin clashed on the show about some comments Kaepernick had made, comparing the NFL’s draft and training camps to slavery.
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Tafoya claimed that the act of playing in the NFL is an act
She said, “No one presses them.” “They’re not forced to go into the NFL.”
She later added that she thought it was unfair to compare the situation with slavery. … These guys enter willingly. These are the best-cared for people. Yes, they play a hard sport, and every one of them – Black, White, Latino, whoever’s playing the sport – will tell you how much they love it and they’re willing to do it and they make a damn good living.”
Hostin argued that many NFL owners were White and the vast majority of NFL players were Black.
She stated that “the comparison he draws to slave owners or slaves isn’t at all unreasonable”
She asserted that it was the league’s White owners who were preventing Kaepernick from continuing his NFL career after the 2016 season, when he launched pre-game kneeling protests of racial injustice during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick’s contract with the San Francisco 49ers expired after that season and no NFL team hired him afterward.
Eric Reid and Kaepernick, a former teammate, later settled with the league.
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Hostin also claimed that Kaepernick lost everything by standing for a cause he believes in. But Tafoya responded by pointing out that Kaepernick actually had “gained much” since leaving NFL. This included the Netflix special, and lucrative deals with Nike.
Kathryn Tappen, a leading candidate for Tafoya’s position as sideline reporter at “Sunday Night Football,” according to the New York Post.
The Post reported that NBC had not made any comment about Tafoya’s involvement and Tafoya was not able to be reached.
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this story.