Senator Marsha Blackburn Slams NBA For Report On Chinese Training Academies
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that the NBA’s youth program in China was allegedly plagued with human rights abuses.
Now, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is targeting the NBA for the report, since the league gave her a “completely inaccurate” statement about the youth program, according to Fox News.
Fox News reports that the ESPN report cited a letter Blackburn received from NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum, which was a response to her inquiry about reports that the league was still operating its training centers in Xinjiang, the Chinese province which Blackburn noted as “one of the world’s worst humanitarian zones.”
Tatum had told the senator that the NBA hadn’t been involved with the Xinjiang basketball academy for more than a year and that the relationship had been terminated. However, two sources disputed this to ESPN.
ESPN reported that “[O]ne coach said the league was still seeking other coaches to move there well into the summer and that the league’s statement to Blackburn was ‘completely inaccurate.’ They were still trying to get people to go out there. It didn’t end because [Tatum] said, ‘We’re gonna end this.'”
A Blackburn spokesperson told Fox News that the senator “intends to follow up with the NBA promptly to get to the bottom of the league’s presence in Xinjiang.” Blackburn said of the ESPN report that it “is disturbing and the NBA needs to voluntarily correct the record of their involvement.”
Tatum stated to Fox News that “the league ended its involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June 2019 and that it is ‘re-evaluating the NBA Academy program in China,’ calling the allegations from ESPN’s report ‘disturbing.’”
Tatum added that “[W]e launched this not-for-profit elite player development initiative in 2016 by working to support three existing basketball development centers in China operated by local sports authorities. Our role was limited to providing three coaches at each academy, none of whom have been alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing.”
It is no secret that the NBA has been close with China and that it is completely hypocritical when it comes to human rights abuses, as we learned from the deeply negative backlash to the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeting “Free Hong Kong,” while the league pretends now to stand against racism and “police brutality.” Because the Left has no standards, and is quite shameless about it as well.