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ESPN Suspends N.B.A. Reporter for Vulgar Reply to Senator

  • July 15, 2020

The Washington Post reported the suspension would be from one to two weeks.

Wojnarowski was responding to an email sent by Hawley’s press office to a number of journalists, criticizing the N.B.A. for “kowtowing to Beijing” and its decision to allow players to wear social justice messages on their jerseys during the coming restart of the N.B.A. season in Florida.

The list of acceptable messages, which was agreed to by the N.B.A. and the union representing the players, includes “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe.” None reference last year’s widespread protests in Hong Kong or China’s increasing grip on the city.

The matter called into question Wojnarowski’s distance from a league he covers and appeared to be defending. Hawley has been known to selectively criticize the N.B.A.’s relationship with China.

The N.B.A. has been a frequent target for many Republicans since the league’s rift with China began before the season started. Several castigated the N.B.A. — accusing the league of not firmly standing behind Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, who posted an image on Twitter that was supportive of the pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters in October. This incensed the Chinese government, which has since limited its business with the N.B.A.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, even called for the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, to testify on the subject. When prominent and frequently outspoken league figures like Steve Kerr, LeBron James and James Harden were asked about Morey’s comments, they either demurred or declined to support Morey.

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