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In an appearance on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) had some choice words for the NBA.
“And I’ll tell you something right now: The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has bigger balls than the NBA,” Cruz said.
Cruz is referring to WTA chief Steve Simon suspending WTA events in China following the disappearance of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. Shuai went missing after alleging that a high-ranking Chinese government official raped her, as written by OutKick’s Joe Kinsey. While Shuai has since been located, it is unclear whether she still faces oppression and censorship from the CCP.
“I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong,” Simon said. “In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault.
“Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022.”
Cruz directly mentions the NBA, which has come under fire for its silence on matters going on in China. Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom has also spoken out against Lakers forward LeBron James and Nike for their hypocrisy on social issues.
“They stand for Black Lives Matter in America — amazing. They stand for the Latino community. No Asian hate. They stand with the LGBTQ community,” Freedom said on Tuesday. “But when it comes to some of the countries out there, like China, they remain silent. Obviously they are using these players to become the face, like Cristiano Ronaldo for soccer, LeBron for basketball, and some other athletes. But they’re becoming puppets.
“I feel like we need to be careful of what we are wearing, because every time you put those items on your feet or back, there’s so much blood or sweat or oppression on those items.”
By the WTA pulling events out of China, the tour figures to lose a lot of money. Simon said the WTA and China had been working on the largest and most significant Finals deal in the 45 years since the WTA was founded.
In 2019, tournaments held in China totaled $30.4 million in prize money, including $14 million for the WTA Finals.