On Wednesday, ESPN ran a bombshell report that alleged the young participants in the NBA’s training academies in China were physically beaten by Chinese instructors and were not provided proper schooling, despite commissioner Adam Silver’s previous commitment that education would be “central” to the program.
“With NBA games now in full force, the inevitable race baiting ‘kneeling is a sign of disrespect!’ tweets are coming,” Kerr wrote. “Our message is clear: We love our country. And we also believe that this nation can and must do better to eliminate racism and bigotry. That is why we kneel.”
“Steve, I speak for all Americans when I say we’re just relieved China has given you permission to once again speak out on important social and human rights abuses,” conservative commentator Stephen Miller quipped.
“Any word on ESPN’s expose of your training program in Xinjiang or nah?” Noam Blum, Tablet Magazine associate editor, asked.
“Cool. You ready to speak out against China yet…or nah?” National Review contributor Pradheep J. Shanker similarly tweeted.
“Absolute state of social justice in the NBA is teams kneeling for the national anthem because bigotry while the league was running training camps in China where Chinese coaches were abusing Uighur Muslims,” Daily Caller’s Greg Price reacted.
“Here’s a better idea: stand for the anthem, to honor our Nation & the heroes who died for our freedom. And then support school choice by donating 10% of your salaries for scholarships for low-income children to attend excellent schools,” Cruz wrote.
ESPN’s report detailed how the NBA training academies in China appeared to be largely under the control of the Chinese government, with one coach who worked for the program calling it “a sweat camp for athletes.”
“We were basically working for the Chinese government,” one former coach told ESPN.
According to ESPN, NBA officials asked current and former employees not to speak to the sports network about the exposé, with one email from a public relations official reading, “Please don’t mention that you have been advised by the NBA not to respond.”
“You can’t have it both ways,” one former employee told ESPN. “You can’t be over here in February promoting Black History Month and be over in China, where they’re in reeducation camps, and all the people that you’re partnering with are hitting kids.”
Over the past year, the NBA’s intense relationship with China has been scrutinized after the league’s players and coaches have largely refrained from criticizing the country’s human rights violations and expressing support for Hong Kong.
ESPN’s prominent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski also raised eyebrows when he sent Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., a profane response to the lawmaker’s criticism of the league’s decision of “pre-approved, social justice slogans” while “censoring support” for law enforcement and criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.