I made my thoughts on this general subject crystal clear in a lengthy post published last October. In a nutshell, while performing as a preening woke activist and quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about fighting injustice wherever it exists, NBA superstar LeBron James has exposed himself as a fraud on human rights issues. Not only has he remained silent about China's escalating human rights abuses, he actually pressured the NBA to punish a Houston Rockets executive for the sin of publicly supporting the people of Hong Kong against aggressive encroachments from the communists of Beijing. Why? Because China's grave anti-liberty, anti-human rights, and literally racist abuses are not to be questioned or acknowledged, given the NBA's enormous financial interests in China. The league, and LeBron personally, stand to make gobs of money from the Chinese market, so the totalitarian regime's sensibilities mustn't be ruffled, no matter how egregious its conduct may be.
So LeBron James will brag about leveraging his platform for justice, and the NBA will stencil "Black Lives Matter" on its courts for the upcoming season, but those suffering under the jackboot of Chinese oppression will just have to continue to suffer. There's big money to be made, after all. Signaling virtue about issues here at home is a safe business bet, but making even a peep about Beijing's cartoonishly monstrous evils, which make our domestic ills look like child's play by comparison, is verboten. With that as the backdrop, here's the latest wrinkle in this situation. On Friday, prominent ESPN journalist Adrian Wojnarowski, or "Woj," emailed the office of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in response to a statement in which the senator was highly critical of communist China and the NBA's coddling thereof. Please recall that fans were ejected from NBA games for expressing support for Hong Kong, actions justified by a supposed rule against political content, which is the opposite of how the league tends to operate. Hawley shared Woj's nuanced and thoughtful response (content warning):
Sports journos are notoriously left-wing, but this obscene tantrum from Wojnarowski was really quite something. The NBA has debased itself on the China issue, and ESPN (which also has financial interests at stake) has been part of the problem, as have NBA-adjacent American corporations like the flaming hypocrites at Nike. Evidently Woj doesn't appreciate these things being noted by a United States senator, so he lashed out in a childish yet revealing way. To his credit, he quickly issued a non-hedged and contrite apology for his actions:
A gross email, followed by a good apology. Time to move on? ESPN apparently had other ideas:
I'm not sure what ESPN's internal rules are, but Woj's mea culpa seemed sufficient to me, frankly. Then again, the network imposing some sort of temporary sanction over an act of extreme unprofessionalism, in an email sent from an ESPN account, doesn't feel overly draconian. Among the voices calling for Woj to be reinstated was none other than...LeBron James, of course:
#FreeWOJ!! ????????— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 12, 2020
So 'Bron wants this ESPN personality "freed" from a suspension prompted by a profane outburst at a senator, which in turn was prompted by said senator's criticism of communist China and the NBA's embarrassing kowtowing. Does "King James" have any thoughts about freeing Hong Kongers from China's tightening death grip, or ethnic and religious minorities from China's straight-up concentration camps? It's a rhetorical question, of course. We already know what James is willing to ignore and effectively defend. I'll leave you with a Washington Post op/ed by National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien (with whom I'm traveling this week in Europe) on the Trump administration's new sanctions imposed on Chinese officials tied to the abuse of the Uighur minority. Oh, and it looks like Hawley is on the right side of both of these points: