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Conservative commentator Guy Benson provided a succinct response to National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James’ tweet to “#FreeWOJ.” It’s the Twitter version of the mic drop.
Woj, a.k.a. ESPN’s high-profile NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, got hit with a two-week, unpaid suspension from his employer for “unacceptable behavior,” and now pro basketball players like James, plus the reporter’s Worldwide leader in Sports colleagues, so-called, are circling the wagons on his behalf on Twitter.
There is so much to be said about this controversy, but Benson’s tweet seemed to sum it up: “Thoughts on freeing Hong Kong or the Uighurs?”
Hypocritical NBA luminaries such as James and pandering coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, among others, have consistently called out America generally for its shortcomings and President Trump personally for his.
Given the huge money on the line from the lucrative Chinese market, they have clammed up about China’s human rights abuses, including the persecution of its Muslim minority, and the CCP’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
LeBron James, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2106, has positioned himself as a woke political activist.
Back in January 2018, he even tweeted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Thoughts on freeing Hong Kong or the Uighurs? https://t.co/Jvpl6uFKEM
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 13, 2020
Last year, Houston Rocket’s general manager Daryl Morey became a pariah in the league for a simple tweet supporting Hong Kong democracy because it jeopardized NBA’s cash flow from the Beijing dictatorship.
At the time, LeBron James commented that free speech can have negative financial or other ramifications and ironically that Morey was uneducated about Hong Kong.
LeBron says he believes Rockets GM Daryl Morey wasn’t educated when he spoke about Hong Kong and that his tweet could have hurt a lot of people, including financially pic.twitter.com/UMj71DPQH7
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 15, 2019
The latest controversy got its start when U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R – Mo.) wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver questioning the NBA’s plan for29 different social justice messages on the back of team jerseys particularly as it relates to the League’s business relationship with China.
LeBron only cares about his endorsements, not the oppressed Hong Kongers or the Uighurs trapped in internment camps who are probably making his shoes.
— TBT (@TbTtruthbetold) July 13, 2020
(The WNBA has adopted a roughly similar plan for social justice messaging on player warm-up jerseys.)
“How about ‘Free Hong Kong,’ the senator wondered, among other things.
If @NBA is going to put social cause statements on uniforms, why not “Support our Troops” or “Back the Blue”? Or given how much $$ @nba makes in #China, how about “Free Hong Kong”! Today I wrote to Adam Silver to ask for answers pic.twitter.com/PthYR4OxmE
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 10, 2020
Wojnarowski is known for breaking scoops about the league known as “Woj bombs,” but instead of covering Hawley’s request like breaking news as one would expect, he took to Twitter to drop an F-bomb on the senator.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 10, 2020
Both he and ESPN subsequently apologized for the tweet.
In a subsequent tweet, Hawley commented that a Woj suspension begs the issue. “@espn don’t suspend a reporter, ask tough questions of @NBA about their pro-#China, anti-America bias. Start reporting for goodness sake.”
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 12, 2020
The senator has also invited the ESPN president come to Washington to discuss the NBA, ESPN, and China triumverate.
Woj’s outburst was somewhat surprising, since his demeanor on the air is low key and non-flamboyant, unlike most ESPN personalities.
In the Trump era, however, liberals seem unwilling or unable to engage in debate on the issues, and instead prefer to hurl invective toward those with whom they disagree.
Woj’s suspension conveniently ends just as the NBA restart is due to begin.
According to Fox Sports host and Outkick founder Clay Travis, Woj’s outburst, and the almost universal support he is getting from the sports industry “was a flippant and disrespectful message intended to demonstrate how little Wojnarowski cares about the blatant hypocrisy of the league he covers. It also provides us yet another window into the far left wing politics practiced at ESPN.”
Despite LeBron James’ activism, he has surprisingly announced that he will be wearing a standard jersey. He claims that he had no input into the selection of the social justice wording, which given his profound influence in the league is also a surprise.
“I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey…I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK. I’m absolutely OK with that. … I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do.”
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