By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
A U.S. senator sent a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, criticizing what he considers to be a limitation of proposed messages for player jerseys during the season restart, while accusing the league of “deepening ties” with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Josh Hawley, Missouri’s Republican senator, wrote in the letter that Silver has been spending the “intervening months deepening the NBA’s ties to the CCP,” following Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests. He also asks why there aren’t any phrases “in support of the victims of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)” among the NBA’s list of suggested approved social justice messages phrases that players can have on their jerseys.
The letter writes: “Given the NBA’s troubled history of excusing and apologizing for the brutal repression of the Chinese Communist regime, these omissions are striking. Last October, you no doubt recall, you chose to apologize to the CCP after Daryl Morey, General Manager of the Houston Rockets, spoke up on behalf of the Hong Kong protestors.
Following that shameful display, I encouraged you to reverse course. Instead, you have spent the intervening months deepening the NBA’s ties to the CCP. Just last week, you described the October incident as “a bump in the road” in the NBA’s relationship with the Chinese government. You went on to say that you understand that the CCP has “a different view of … how things should be done,” and that you hope the NBA and the CCP will be able to “find mutual respect for each other.”
Hawley also asked Silver to “prove him wrong” when it comes to his allegations about the NBA’s ties with CCP. “If the NBA is more committed to promoting the CCP’s interests than to celebrating its home nation – your fans deserve to know that is your view. If not, prove me wrong. Let your players stand up for the Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong. Let them stand up for American law enforcement if they so choose. Give them the choice to write “Back the Blue” on their jerseys. Or “Support our Troops.” Maybe “God Bless America.” What could be more American than that?
In another part of the letter, Hawley proposes that the NBA should provide players with a choice of wearing such messages as “God Bless America,” “Support Our Troops,” or “Back the Blue’.” It has to be mentioned that NBA players wanted to put messages that had to do with racial equality and social justice on their jerseys in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a policeman. No players were reported to be asking to use phrases like the ones the senator suggests.
Hawley characterized the NBA’s list of proposed messages as “almost all aligned with the message of recent anti-police protests.”
Hawley’s letter attracted a lot of attention also because of an obscene response to it in an email by ESPN’s leading NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj issued a public apology via his social media.