Report: Sen. Marsha Blackburn Questions NBA's Relationship with China in Letter

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2020

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., arrives for a Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee sent a letter to the NBA on Tuesday questioning the league's relationship with China.

"While the NBA has worked hard to raise awareness of social issues at home, there is concern that the league has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses committed abroad—even bowing down to pressure last year," the letter says, per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated. "The actions of the NBA and some players have created an appearance that your league prioritizes profit over principle."

Blackburn gives the NBA until July 21 to answer the following three points:

"1) What are the anticipated financial consequences of China Central Television's (CCTV) continued ban on airing NBA games?

"2) Please outline the scope of the NBA's relationship with Chinese state-owned enterprise Alibaba.

"3) The NBA reportedly continues to operate a training center Xinjiang, one of the world's worst humanitarian zones. What steps is the NBA taking to shutter this location?"

Blackburn, a Republican, focuses on the fallout of the tweet sent by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in October that was supportive of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protestors. Morey's tweet caused an international incident that resulted in the NBA's Chinese partners suspending ties with the league.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from Morey's tweet.