The reputation and image of the NBA are in trouble now, just as the relaunch comes back. The NBA is being accused of perpetrating human rights abuses at its China training academies, or at the very least knowing abuses were taking place.
ESPN provided the report, and it seems they dropped a bombshell on the NBA’s China partnership. All of a sudden, the efforts and commentaries by the basketball league towards protecting the welfare of American citizens who suffer from racism and social injustice seem to have been made in vain. NBA is not practicing what they preach.
On the one hand, they are promoting campaigns for Black Lives Matter and showing nice messages on players’ jerseys, but, on the other hand, they are hiding abuses committed against teenagers who train at the NBA academies in China. Some would call this pure hypocrisy.
The NBA Gets Called Out Over China
Senator Josh Hawley is claiming that NBA and celebrities are profiting from slave labor in the communist country. Companies like Nike are among the business partners who benefit from this outrageous business conditions. ESPN made an announcement on Wednesday, revealing that the teenage participants in the NBA program were physically abused by the instructors in China, and they didn’t get proper education.
These despicable acts go against the mission of the programs, which state that education is the cornerstone of the academies. Because of this scandal, the NBA was denigrated with a comment made by a former league employee who expressed that the atmosphere when he worked in Xinjiang was compared to ‘World War II Germany.’
Other people like sports reporters Kevin Draper and Sopan Deb have shown their point of view concerning the scandal, saying things like, the exposé is “incredibly, incredibly damning for the NBA,” and “a massive black eye for the league.” It is not that they want to gain popularity because of this; they are just denouncing acts that are unacceptable for a league that supposedly defends human rights and social equality, but the reality is different.
The NBA’s Hypocrisy Conundrum
These hypocritical acts must be made public for everybody to know the truth. In the case of sports commentator Tony Bruno, he recognized ESPN for showing the reality that the NBA has tried to hide for such a long time. Bruno also wondered what people like commissioner Adam Silver, LeBron James and Steve Kerr would have to say concerning this inhumane alliance. It is a contradiction that these guys are quite familiar with US policies, but wouldn’t know what was going on there. Most of the time, commissioners and managers are aware of these injustices, but they are neglectful to talk about them.
The criticisms don’t stop there. Clay Travis of ESPN also made a harsh remark on Twitter against the league. He tweeted, “Props to ESPN for covering all this. NBA’s refusal to condemn China at all is glaring. Even in this story when confronted with horrific human rights abuses NBA dodged any criticism of China. League is full of hypocrites.” It seems that the sports commentators are far more concerned about these abuses than the league itself. After all this turmoil, the NBA has to look for a way to clean up its reputation and restore the prestige it once boasted. People don’t forget scandals so easily, especially when it deals with human rights abuse.
Undoubtedly, these are horrendous acts because the NBA is seen as servile to Communist China because the league prefers to make money instead of protecting human rights. As usual, big corporations don’t really care about their employees’ well-being, not even if their health is at risk. According to Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn, the report is quite disturbing, and the NBA is mandated to voluntarily change its involvement in such a despicable business. The league must be worried about its global reputation, as it might lose support from fans and followers.