U.S. Sens Question NBA Again On China Youth Academy
Two U.S. senators purport that the NBA "deceived Congressional members about its involvement in a youth basketball academy based in a controversial region of China," according to Ross Dellenger of SI.com. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that they are “'deeply concerned' about reports of abuse at the league’s youth-development program in Xinjiang and suggests that an NBA executive fabricated the timeline of its dealings with the academy," according to a two-page letter that lawmakers sent Thursday to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Dellenger noted the "root of the latest correspondence is the timing in which the NBA ended its relationship with the Xinjiang academy and how the association responded to the abuse unfolding within the facility." An ESPN story published July 29 revealed "mistreatment of young players by Chinese coaches." In a July 21 letter to Blackburn, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum wrote that the NBA had "ended its relationship with the Xinjiang basketball academy more than a year ago." However, ESPN and the N.Y. Times both have reported that the NBA’s Xinjiang academy was "operational as recently as last summer." The ESPN story, citing anonymous sources, "characterized the league’s original statement to Blackburn as 'completely inaccurate.'" In their letter, the senators are "requesting documentation from the NBA of its termination with the academy, asking the league to identify a specific date." They are also "demanding Silver answer five questions listed in the letter, giving the NBA an Aug. 26 deadline" (SI.com, 8/6).