Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri indicated Monday morning that he is interested in initiating Senate hearings compelling NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to make public the league’s financial ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Subpoenaing Silver could help flesh out the extent to which the NBA is tied to Beijing, the Republican told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “Well, that’s a great idea,” Hawley said before reiterating his desire for Silver to explain why the NBA won’t allow players to wear messages on their uniforms condemning China’s human rights violations.
“It’s not like the players can put whatever they want on the back of the jersey. NBA corporate has approved a handful. And, predictably, they have nothing to say about anything related to China,” Hawley said.
Hawley is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is under the direction of Republican Sen. Linsey Graham of South Carolina.
“So, I just asked, ‘Why aren’t there other slogans on the jerseys?’ And, ‘Why don’t you tell us about your relationship with China?’ So, I think that getting these answers is absolutely crucial, and I’m open to just about any avenue to get them,” Hawley said.
ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski responded harshly to Hawley after the senator shared his letter to Silver with various reporters, including some working at ESPN. “F**** you,” Wojnarowski responded in an email to Hawley’s press office, according to a screenshot posted to the senator’s Twitter feed on July 10.
Silver faced criticism in 2019 after several basketball players around the league condemned Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey for supporting the human rights protesters in Hong Kong.
Hawley has been a fierce critic of China and has frequently criticized China-based tech giants for allegedly constituting major risks to U.S. national security.
NBA did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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