ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski has been suspended by the network for two weeks for a vulgar email he sent to a Republican senator, according to the New York Post.
The prominent NBA journalist will not be disciplined further for his actions. His suspension is without pay.
What’s this about? In response to a letter from GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver regarding China, Wojnarowski sent Hawley a short message: “F*** you.”
Hawley sent the letter to the NBA community questioning why social justice messages related to Hong Kong are not allowed on the NBA’s list of approved content for the backs of players’ jerseys. Phrases like “black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” are allowed.
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The NBA has been criticized for silence and inaction in response to China’s human rights violations in an effort to protect lucrative business relationships with the communist nation. As pro-democracy protests raged in Hong Kong in resistance to mainland China’s communist influence, prominent NBA players and executives were hesitant to criticize China.
LeBron James, who is vocal on racial justice issues but who refused to say a negative word about China earlier in the NBA season, tweeted support for Wojnarowski, writing “Free Woj.”
How did Woj’s email become public? Hawley tweeted a screenshot of the email on Friday.
“Don’t criticize #China or express support for law enforcement to @espn,” Hawley wrote. “It makes them real mad.”
Wojnarowski apologized for the email after it became public.
“I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake,” Wojnarowski said in a statement. “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.”