ESPN: Wojnarowski email to Senator Hawley 'inexcusable'

Sam Amico

ESPN responded to an email sent from NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski to Republican U.S. Senator John Hawley of Missouri, with the network saying it is handling the matter internally.

Wojnarowski replied to a mass email from Hawley that accused the NBA of "kowtowing" to communist China while "refusing to support U.S. military and law enforcement."

Wojnarowski's response: "F*** you."

Hawley took a screenshot of the response and Tweeted it out, claiming that ESPN gets "mad" when China is criticized.

An hour after Hawley's tweet, both ESPN and Wojnarowski released statements.

"This is completely unacceptable behavior and we do not condone it," ESPN said in a prepared statement. "It is inexcusable for anyone working for anyone working for ESPN to respond in the way Adrian did to Senator Hawley. We are addressing it directly with Adrian and specifics of those conversations will remain internal."

Wojnarowski tweeted an apology.

"I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake," Wojnarowski wrote. "I'm sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out 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."

Wojnarowski is widely considered the NBA's top newsbreaker, and among the top newsbreakers in the history of sports. His Twitter account has 4 million followers.

ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company and will televise multiple NBA games upon the league's return at the end of the month. Walt Disney World Resort is hosting the entire return of the season.

The league has come under fire, particularly from conservatives, for its relationship with communist China -- which was brought to the forefront when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters shortly before the season.

Chinese state-run network CCTV responded by dropping NBA games, and does not plan to carry them once the season resumes.