Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott sent a letter Monday to National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver calling for a meeting to discuss the league’s relationship with China.
In the letter, Scott mentioned China’s oppression of Uyghur Muslims and the NBA’s silence about the treatment of the Uyghurs and the reported forced labor that goes on in China. The NBA announced in July of 202o that it terminated its relationship with a league-run training academy in Xinjiang, China, which is the region where around one million Uyghurs are reportedly being held in concentration camps.
Scott also mentioned his call to move the 2022 Olympic Games out of China.
“I write to request a meeting at the soonest possible date for us to discuss the NBA’s involvement in Communist China. As I am sure you know, I have been vocal about the league’s use of Communist Chinese-made apparel, its decision to crack down on Daryl Morey after his comments about protests in Hong Kong, the abuse of young players at NBA academies, and your organization’s silence about Communist China’s horrific human rights abuses and the ongoing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. I have also urged the NBA to support my call to move the 2022 Olympic Games out of Communist China and to a country that actually respects human rights. Sadly, you have chosen to be silent on this as well,” Scott wrote in the letter.
“I want to be very clear – the issues I have outlined are neither speculative nor subject to debate. These are facts. The NBA has done nothing to stand up to Communist China, and in some ways has taken actions that seem to have no purpose other than to please General Secretary Xi’s murderous and tyrannical Communist Chinese government,” Scott continued.
Scott also mentioned he had a conversation with Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter Freedom to discuss the NBA’s silence on China’s human rights abuses and said Enes should be celebrated by the league. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Banks Slams Apple’s ‘Support For Slavery’)
“I recently had a conversation with Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter Freedom to discuss these matters. I admire his bravery and commitment to freedom and democracy across the world. Players like Enes, who recently became an American citizen, should be celebrated by the NBA and held up as an example of courageous advocacy for the common good.
READ THE LETTER HERE:
Other Senators, such as Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn have been pressing the NBA over China. Blackburn received a response from the NBA in a letter in July 2020 that was made public after inquiring about the treatment of Uyghurs. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Blackburn To Release Interview With Former NBA Player Royce White About China’s Treatment Of Uyghurs)
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said they have not had any involvement with the Xinjiang basketball academy for over a year. (RELATED: NBA Says It Has Terminated Relationship With Training Facility In Region Where Uighur Muslims Are Being Held)
Blackburn released a video interview in July with former NBA player Royce White to discuss China’s oppression of Uyghur Muslims.
White, the former Houston Rockets first-round pick, brought a “Free the Uyghurs” shirt to a Big 3 basketball game earlier in July and has continued to raise awareness about the treatment of Uyghurs in China on social media. His current profile picture on Twitter also reads “Free the Uyghurs.”