On Wednesday, ESPN released a bombshell report detailing how Chinese authorities allegedly abused players at NBA academies. Later that night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared on CNN with host Wolf Blitzer – and wasn’t asked once about the major new scandal.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the NBA worked with their Chinese partners to set up training academies that allegedly beat kids who didn’t perform well enough.
“American coaches at three NBA training academies in China told league officials their Chinese partners were physically abusing young players and failing to provide schooling, even though commissioner Adam Silver had said that education would be central to the program,” ESPN reported. “One former league employee who worked in China wondered how the NBA, which has been so progressive on issues around Black Lives Matter and moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, over a law requiring transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates, could operate a training camp amid a Chinese government crackdown that also targeted NBA employees.”
A former employee at a training camp in Xinjiang – a region known for concentration camps full of Chinese Muslims known as Uyghurs – told ESPN that working at the camp was like “World War II Germany.” Another former employee said the camp was like “a sweat camp for athletes.” One former coach told the outlet, “we were basically working for the Chinese government.”
ESPN reported that multiple coaches quit over the physical abuse they witnessed.
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NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum, who oversees international operations, claimed that the league received a few complaints about the abuse, and claimed that the incidents were never reported to top league officials.
Numerous officials who worked for the NBA in China said that the level of abuse was “much more prevalent” than what Tatum had claimed.
One coach said that a Chinese coach threw a ball at a young player’s face from point-blank range and then “kick[ed] him in the gut.”
Yet CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer failed to ask NBA commissioner Adam Silver about anything related to the league and China. Blitzer interviewed Silver for nearly 16 minutes but focused on bringing basketball back amid continuing coronavirus fears. The interview with CNN took place two hours after ESPN dropped its report.
Silver has championed progressive social justice policies in the United States, allowing athletes to place league-approved statements on their jerseys – none of which pertain to the horrors currently occurring in China regarding Hong Kong or Uyghur internment camps.
When the Chinese training camps were announced in 2016, Silver emphasized that education would be part of the program.
“Top international prospects will benefit from a complete approach to player development that combines NBA-quality coaching, training and competition with academics and personal development,” Silver said at the time.
The ESPN report noted that players in the camps were not attending classes.
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