CNN's Rachel Nichols says she has been banned from covering the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight Saturday night by Floyd Mayweather's camp.
Both Nichols, of CNN, and Michelle Beadle, with ESPN, tweeted that Mayweather's camp had blocked their credentials for Saturday night's bout. Nichols and Beadle have both covered Mayweather's history of domestic violence, both throughout his career and leading up to the fight.
SI's Chris Mannix confirmed, through a copy of the most recent seating chart for the fight, that two CNN employees are credentialed -- and that Nichols is not. SI's Richard Deitsch confirmed through a source that Nichols' producer was told she wouldn't be credentialed, but that CNN would have a seat.
Mannix also reported that USA Today's Martin Rogers, who has covered domestic violence issues in the past, is not credentialed either.
Saturday afternoon, Beadle tweeted that she was told HBO got her credential re-approved late Friday night. Beadle found out Friday that she did not have a cred, and flew home that day. SI's Deitsch confirmed through a source that at the time of Beadle's flight, the status of her credential was in doubt.
Nichols later released a statement explaining the denial of her credential and saying that the Mayweather camp reversed its decision after public backlash. Her full statement:
Have had a bunch of folks asking questions about the Mayweather issue. Here's what happened: After asking tough questions of Floyd Mayweather on my program, I was not offered press credentials to cover tonight's fight. In an email dated April 23, I was told I would only be credentialed for the run-up events through the week, but in bold, italic letters the email stated "you do not have any access Saturday to any services or events." A CNN producer revisited the issue with the Mayweather camp on April 29, confirming to Mayweather's publicist that I would be in Las Vegas, and the publicist replied that I would still be denied a fight night credential. I was told the same thing when I arrived at the credential office in person on May 1, by two separate officials, in front of several other people. It doesn't surprise me that now, after facing significant backlash, the Mayweather camp has reversed its position. But despite this, and other outside parties generously offering me their seats, I will not attend the fight. I will also not let fear of retaliation prevent me from asking the tough questions the public deserves answers to in the future.
On Saturday, Swanson spoke to USA Today and called the incident a "misunderstanding," saying Nichols has never been banned from the event.
"We didn’t even know until late afternoon who was going to be in the arena," Swanson said. "CNN received one seat in the arena, and it was up to them to pick who could go in the arena. We could not make that selection. We let those producers decide who they wanted in that seat. She’s always had a credential. She got all of this information."
SI's Deitsch also reported that neither HBO nor Showtime Sports is in charge of credentialing media for the fight. HBO submits requests to MGM, in association with the event promoter, and Showtime is not involved.
Nichols conducted an interview on CNN with the boxer this past fall, prior to his fight with Marcos Maidana, in which she directly probed into Mayweather's checkered past while addressing the assault case of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
In the interview, which you can watch below, Mayweather deflected or denied nearly all of Nichols' questions.
Below are the first round of tweets from Nichols and Beadle.
Mayweather publicist Kelly Swanson responded.
More unfolded Saturday afternoon.
After hearing my credential was pulled, I went home. Told this morning that HBO was able to get it re-approved late last night.— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) May 2, 2015
Reports from SI's Mannix and Deitsch:
As for Rachel Nichols: Have a boxing source that said her producer was told she wouldn't be credentialed but CNN does have a seat.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) May 2, 2015
- Jeremy Woo