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While the NBA spent late Thursday restarting its season by disrespecting the national anthem and effectively spitting on America again, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn spent it putting the increasingly anti-American league on blast.
In a tweet posted at 8:26 pm, not long after every player and coach for the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans had disrespected the national anthem, the senator said she intends “to promptly get to the bottom of the league’s presence in Xinjiang.”
It’s disturbing to read how the @NBA sent me a “completely inaccurate” statement about their training center’s in Communist China. I intend to promptly get to the bottom of the league’s presence in Xinjiang. https://t.co/YacQYZSnrr
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) July 31, 2020
The tweet came a day after ESPN ran a bombshell report detailing how the NBA’s training academies in China have been fraught with human rights abuses and have been failing to provide Chinese students with the education promised to them by the league.
“American coaches at three NBA training academies in China told league officials their Chinese partners were physically abusing young players and failing to provide schooling. … One American coach who worked for the NBA in China described the project as ‘a sweat camp for athletes.’ At least two coaches left their positions in response to what they believed was mistreatment of young players,” the outlet reported.
“One requested and received a transfer after watching Chinese coaches strike teenage players, three sources told ESPN. Another American coach left before the end of his contract because he found the lack of education in the academies unconscionable: ‘I couldn’t continue to show up every day, looking at these kids and knowing they would end up being taxi drivers,’ he said.”
The coaches themselves reportedly also suffered some indignities, particularly those stationed in Xinjiang.
“The NBA ran into myriad problems by opening one of the academies in Xinjiang, a police state in western China where more than a million Uighur Muslims are now held in barbed-wire camps. American coaches were frequently harassed and surveilled in Xinjiang, the sources said. One American coach was detained three times without cause; he and others were unable to obtain housing because of their status as foreigners,” ESPN reported.
“A former league employee compared the atmosphere when he worked in Xinjiang to ‘World War II Germany.'”
Chinese officials have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing as it pertains to the Uighur Muslims, though few believe them.
— Chinese Embassy in US (@ChineseEmbinUS) July 23, 2020
ESPN further revealed how some of the league’s otherwise loud, virtue-signaling officials have been aware of the abuses but chosen to ignore them.
“Not long after the academies opened, multiple coaches complained about the physical abuse and lack of schooling to Greg Stolt, the league’s vice president for international operations for NBA China, and to other league officials in China,” ESPN reported.
It’s unclear whether NBA commissioner Adam Silver ever learned of the abuses.
Questioned about these abuses, NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum tried to downplay the allegations.
“Tatum said the NBA received ‘a handful’ of complaints that Chinese coaches had mistreated young players and immediately informed local authorities that the league had ‘zero tolerance’ for behavior that was ‘antithetical to our values,'” according to ESPN.
“I will tell you that the health and wellness of academy athletes and everyone who participates in our program is of the utmost priority,” he reportedly said, adding that the NBA had done “everything that we could, given the limited oversight we had.”
Except maybe cancel its China endeavors altogether, of course …
Earlier this month, Sen. Blackburn sent a letter to Silver asking him to explain why the NBA is so hellbent on pursuing so-called “social justice” domestically but continues to ignore the actual social injustices in China.
The @NBA’s business interests are closely intertwined with Communist China’s estimated $4 billion NBA market.
The actions of the NBA and some players have made it seem that the league prioritizes profit over human rights.https://t.co/3KI6PQVGOy
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) July 1, 2020
Last week, the NBA responded to Blackburn with a letter of its own in which it claimed, “The NBA has had no involvement with the Xinjiang basketball academy for more than a year, and the relationship has been terminated.”
Tatum reportedly made the same claim when speaking with ESPN, though he refused to cite human rights abuses as a reason for why the academy had allegedly been shuttered.
The problem is that, according to ESPN’s sources, the NBA is lying.
“Two sources disputed that the NBA had any plans to leave Xinjiang in the spring of 2019. One 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,'” the outlet reported.
“They were still trying to get people to go out there. It didn’t end because [Tatum] said, ‘We’re gonna end this.’ They probably finally said, ‘Why are we doing this?’ Like we told them from the start, ‘Why do we need to be here? We’re the NBA, there’s no reason for us to be here,'” one source reportedly said.
Responding to this new bombshell, Blackburn’s 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.”
Meanwhile, as the NBA continues flip-flopping on China, what has remained consistent is its eager willingness to throw its own country under the bus with virtue-signaling “social justice” stunts and national anthem protests.
Case in point:
— NBA (@NBA) July 31, 2020
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 30, 2020
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