ESPN analyst: NBA's handling of China controversy 'particularly weak'

Sam Amico

ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard took issue with the NBA's handling of its relationship with China, calling kit "particularly weak" during a segment on the ESPN show Highly Questionable, which Le Batard also co-hosts.

“The way that the NBA has handled it has seemed particularly weak, even with LeBron James having what I believe to be his worst public moment as an athlete because he took the wrong side talking about Daryl Morey and free speech,” Le Batard said.

Per Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick, Highly Questionable was the only ESPN program to discuss a detailed ESPN.com story that revealed reports of player abuse at NBA training academies in China.

It has been said that no professional sports league has benefited as much financially as today's NBA. That controversial relationship took a hit after Morey tweeted support of pro-democracy Hong Kong protestors at the beginning of the season.

“These are complicated issues,” said ESPN reporter Pablo Torre on Highly Questionable, via Glasspiegel. “These are things involving names like Uighur — the Muslim minorities — that are hard to pronounce and spell. This is a far off land. I understand all of this. 

"But the clarity in this story is worth celebrating and acknowledging and discussing. Because, what’s happening in northwest China is a series of human rights abuses and atrocities. You have these kids in these camps who are being physically abused — child abuse — within the basketball context, with the NBA logo on all of this. That’s worrisome. You then add the fact that, yes, as many as a million Uighurs are in concentration camps, where there are forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and on down the line in terms of horrifying facts."

The NBA season resumed Thursday, with 22 teams competing inside the Orlando bubble on the Disney campus.

ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski was suspended without pay for two weeks for angrily replying to mass email from Missouri Senator Josh Hawley that questioned the league's relationship with China. Wojnarowski has since apologized and returned to work.

According to the ESPN.com report, the NBA has closed one of its training academies in China.

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