Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he would support a Senate subpoena of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to investigate the NBA’s continued kowtowing to China.
Hawley made the comments during a conversation with radio host Hugh Hewitt about the senator’s recent scuffle with ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who sent a profane email to Hawley’s office earlier this week.
Wojnarowski, who covers the NBA, was suspended shortly thereafter, but Hawley said he should be reinstated because the real problem isn’t with ESPN or Wojnarowski; it’s with the NBA.
Instead of addressing serious human rights concerns, the NBA is focusing on politically-motivated social justice issues, Hawley said, citing a recent decision by the NBA to allow players to wear various phrases, like “Black Lives Matter,” on the back of their jerseys during the upcoming season.
“If the NBA’s going to put these social justice statements on the back of uniforms, which is what they’re doing now, why is it that there’s nothing on there about ‘Free Hong Kong’ or the Uighur [Muslims] or anything that has to do with the billions of dollars the NBA makes in China?” Hawley said on Monday.
ESPN refuses to cover the NBA’s shameful partnership with communist China, Hawley pointed out, but the network will act against a reporter who used profanity.
“And you see the response from the reporter—and now ESPN—[they] say ‘Oh, you know, well, the reporter, we’ll take care of that. We’ll silence him,'” Hawley said.
“But they don’t want to address the core issue, which is the NBA’s relationship with China,” he continued. “ESPN has a slice of that pie.”
The NBA owes the federal government an explanation about its business dealings with China, Hawley said.
If ESPN won’t ask the right questions, then the Senate Judiciary Committee should, he added.
“This is big-time money for the NBA, and I think we do deserve to know exactly what they’re making,” Hawley said. “And we deserve to have them explain to us why they won’t stand up to this authoritarian regime.”