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On Friday morning Missouri Senator Josh Hawley shared a letter he’d sent to NBA commissioner Adam Silver with the sports media. The letter addressed a glaring hypocrisy: NBA players are making pre-approved political statements on the backs of their jerseys, but none of those statements address the billions of dollars the NBA is pocketing from China, which presently has concentration camps for Muslims and just stripped away all democracy in Hong Kong.
You can read his letter here. (I’d also encourage you to go listen to Senator Hawley and I discuss why the NBA’s relationship with China is an important metaphor for the larger United States-China relationship. Seriously, this is a good conversation we recorded this morning, go listen to it.)
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
This glaring NBA hypocrisy should be a massive story, at least if the media charged with covering the NBA was actually doing its job. The NBA is permitting players to make political statements on their jerseys, but only if those political statements, which have been pre-approved by the NBA, provide no risk to the league.
That’s a monstrous hypocrisy, one the national media covering the NBA should address, especially in the wake of NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressing “mutual respect” for China’s values last week. Values which, it’s worth noting, include putting religious minorities in concentration camps, forced sterilization, zero freedom of speech or basic human rights, and as of this week, going to libraries and pulling books off the shelves in Hong Kong that write favorably about democracy. If that sounds familiar, it should, it’s straight out of the authoritarian dictatorship playbook, the third Reich comes to Beijing.
Given that China has now eliminated the democratic rule of law in Hong Kong and is arresting protesters and putting them in jail, potentially for years, the NBA’s October apologies to China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey retweeted “Free Hong Kong,” has never been more relevant.
Any reporter worth his or her salt — none of whom are evidently employed by ESPN — might be wondering about the NBA’s political statements on jerseys embarrassingly leaving out China. One might even surmise, fairly, that exclusion has to do with China paying the NBA billions of dollars in blood money. The message is clear, if you pay the NBA enough money, they don’t care about concentration camps or basic human rights. They’ll shut up and dribble as long as the Chinese check clears.
What’s more, Senator Josh Hawley didn’t just come up with this idea this week, he actually traveled to Hong Kong to witness the protests first hand in October. So he’s asking questions about which he’s directly familiar, holding a multi-billion dollar company accountable for their hypocrisies, speaking truth to power, which is what we want our politicians to do.
Yet two minutes after the email was sent out, an email which directly deals with the NBA’s present political decisions, ESPN’s lead NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski fired back, “Fuck you,” from his official ESPN email address.
Think about this for a minute, the lead NBA reporter for ESPN responded to a United States senator’s letter to the commissioner of the league he covers not by reading the letter and realizing the senator was raising very real issues reflective of the league’s hypocrisy, but by immediately sending back an expletive-laced response from his corporate email address.
While Wojnarowski is certainly entitled to his own political opinions, how can ESPN allow this? How can anyone believe Woj is an objective reporter now? He’s not a reporter, he’s a league mouthpiece. That might be fine if Woj just shared his opinions, but he doesn’t, he’s the foremost NBA news breaker in the company.
He is, in other words, paid by ESPN to be a journalist.
This wasn’t a highly calculated response, it 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.
When I say that ESPN might as well be MSESPN or SportsCenter should be renamed WokeCenter, this is why the accusation lands so heavily — because it’s not hyperbole — I’m 100% right.
ESPN is such a one-sided political organization that open contempt for half the country is permitted, heck, it’s even encouraged. Wilder still, ESPN is just an exaggerated version of an overall issue in sports media in general. Consider this fact, nearly half of America voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
Yet not a single on air talent at ESPN, Fox, CBS, or NBC has publicly admitted to doing so. What’s more, not one sportswriter employed by a national news organization has admitted to voting for Trump either.
That’s because there is no balance in sports media, everyone isn’t just left wing, they are all far left wing. And that far left wing perspective has so stifled commentary that left wingers are free to announce their political opinions as loudly and frequently as they like, but conservatives are forced to stay silent lest they lose their jobs.
ESPN — as well as Fox, NBC and CBS — certainly have Republican employees — many of them reach out to me regularly — but none of them are comfortable saying so publicly. Heck, if you ask for Fox News to be put on in Bristol, you might as well go ahead and sign your walking papers.
Don’t believe me? Look at the roster of sports media members from a variety of news organizations who publicly Tweeted their support for Woj’s actions. That is, these “journalists” were fine with an employee paid to cover a pro sports league responding by writing “Fuck you,” to a politician raising clear issues of hypocrisy in the league he covers.
ESPN’s Maria Taylor, whose pinned Tweet is a picture of her alongside Barack Obama with the caption, “My life has been made,” Tweeted:
I don’t care what anyone says I will always stand with, by, and, for my incredible colleague & friend @wojespn
— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) July 11, 2020
Would any ESPN employee feel comfortable making their pinned Tweet a picture with Donald Trump?
Ha, of course not.
Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde said:
Some of us get FU emails all the time without turning it into a performance. Just sayin’. https://t.co/YDWer4Px4P
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) July 10, 2020
If your company sent out a critical article to a league and the commissioner emailed back, “Fuck you,” from a league email address you wouldn’t immediately cover it as news?
Just stop with that argument.
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson said:
I will always stand with @wojespn. I’m mad he apologized for expressing himself in a private email that a jackwagon politician aired out. You send a politically motivated email, you deserve whatever response you get. I wish Woj had said what he said twice. https://t.co/I04Pzt0xcM
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) July 10, 2020
So you can respond to any email from a politician by simply writing back, “Fuck you?”
Senator Hawley’s letter is directly addressing the NBA’s hypocritical political statements and the recent comment by the league commissioner.
And as a journalist you aren’t troubled by this being sent from a company email immediately upon receiving it?
Of course Jemele Hill also weighed in.
I been there @wojespn. Some days they catch you right and some days they catch you wrong. Got your back, brother ✊?
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 10, 2020
There were many, many more Tweets from sports media members defending Woj for his email, but what you’ll note is all of these people share Woj’s politics. They don’t just hate Donald Trump, they hate Republicans and aren’t willing to even extend them the basic decency of ignoring an email that upsets them.
No, they have to respond to it with an expletive.
From a company email address.
So let’s just play a little thought experiment here. What if the email had been sent by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC, who raised the exact same issues about the NBA’s response to Hong Kong protesters? And what if Woj had immediately responded, “Fuck you,” to her?
There’s a good chance he would have been fired.
You know it, I know it, everyone reading this column right now knows it.
I’m not advocating for firing anyone for an email that expresses their true opinions. Never have, never will. The same should hold true for Tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, you name it. We have to stop canceling people just because we disagree with what they say. Cancel culture, which has been wielded as a weapon by the far left wing in this country for years, is not healthy for our country, period.
But the reason why Woj felt like he could respond to Senator Hawley’s office like he did is because in 2016 ESPN employees donated 100x as much money to Hillary Clinton as to Donald Trump. He knows he can say whatever he wants to a Republican and there will be no consequences.
Oh, I know, Woj apologized and ESPN said his actions were unacceptable, but nothing else happened. Indeed, most of the media, which agrees with Woj and hates Republicans, didn’t even cover the contretemps. And there wasn’t a single article ripping Woj anywhere on the entire sports Internet save on Outkick.
Not one anywhere else!
That’s because there is no actual marketplace of ideas in sports media. There’s a marketplace of left wing ideas and then a marketplace of far left wing ideas. Anything other than left wing is labeled “alt right,” in sports media. Hell, I’m alt right and I’ve never even voted for a Republican for president.
Now some of you might be saying, why does this far left wing bias in sports matter? And it’s a fair question. It matters because without a robust marketplace of ideas you end up with mob rule. Which is what we have right now in sports media. We have far left wing media members who attack a guy like Drew Brees when he says he stands for the national anthem to honor his two grandfathers who fought actual Nazis — as opposed to labeling people Nazis on social media because they disagree with you — and completely ignored actual anti-Semitism from Desean Jackson.
There was far more criticism of Drew Brees for saying he believed it was disrespectful to kneel for the national anthem than there was for Desean Jackson sharing actual anti-Semitism.
Worse, the sports media didn’t even cover Malcolm Jenkins, who has received tens of millions of dollars from NFL owners and posted a video of himself crying after Drew Brees talking about standing for the anthem, saying anti-Semitism wasn’t his problem and was a distraction from black issues.
Can you imagine the reaction if a white player said black lives matter wasn’t his issue and distracted from white problems?
He’d never be able to play in the league again.
These sports media members would write hundreds of articles about that player, Twitter would be in an uproar.
Yet Malcolm Jenkins says anti-Semitism isn’t his problem and is a distraction and it’s crickets from the sports media.
People get mad at me online because I challenge their thinking, am skeptical of conventional wisdom and don’t embrace dogmas. We do the same thing here at Outkick. We treat everyone the same, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight, religious or not, born here or born elsewhere.
That’s because we do something radical on this website, we espouse equality and we live up to that standard by treating everyone equally every single day.
Yet we are the only sports site on the entire Internet that does this.
If Outkick didn’t exist, there would be no one sharing our perspective. Not at traditional and “mainstream” sports sites for sure.
That’s a big deal because America doesn’t solve problems with mobs who all have the exact same opinion, that’s what totalitarian dictatorships do. And that’s what the sports media is right now, a far left wing totalitarian dictatorship.
Agree with us, or else.
We’re different, we don’t expect you to agree with everything we say on this site.
Welcome to Outkick, the only website where free speech is still allowed on the sports Internet.
If you only want far left wing pablum, stick to ESPN and their sports media cohorts, but if you want to have your existing beliefs challenged and think for yourself, bookmark this site.
And if you don’t bookmark the site and come read us regularly?
We’re still going to dominate.