ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski lashed out at Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) for his letter criticizing the NBA’s close relationship with China on Friday.
The National Basketball Association announced last week that players could select a message to put on the backs of their jerseys once the season resumes play later this month. The list of 29 approved social and political messages includes “Black Lives Matter,” “How Many More,” “Power to the People,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and “Anti-Racist.”
Hawley noticed that the approved phrases have a liberal slant. Hawley wrote a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver to question why the association didn’t have a variety of social messaging, such as “Support our Troops,” “Back the Blue,” or “God Bless America.”
In the letter, Hawley also asked Silver why there were no phrases “in support of victims of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including the people of Hong Kong, whose remaining freedoms are being extinguished by the CCP’s newly-enacted national security law.” Hawley challenged Silver to allow NBA players to stand up for the Uighur Muslims who are being held in Chinese internment camps.
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“No amount of profit can justify collaborating with a regime for which violent suppression and enslavement are routine tools of governance,” Hawley wrote in a statement released on Friday.
Hawley’s office released a press statement about the letter and reportedly included ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski on the distribution list since the statement was about the NBA. The prominent ESPN reporter, who is known for his “Woj-bombs” when he breaks important NBA news, replied to Hawley’s email by cursing at the Missouri senator.
Hawley shared a screenshot of Wojnarowski’s reply, which read: “F*** you.” Hawley tweeted the screenshot with the caption: “Don’t criticize #China or express support for law enforcement to @espn. It makes them real mad.”
Wojnarowski has since apologized for the expletive outburst.
“I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake,” the NBA reporter wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly. I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them.”
The NBA has been criticized for kowtowing to China, especially for the situation last October when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was forced to apologize to China for tweeting support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. China punished the NBA by not broadcasting NBA preseason games.