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Volume 26 No. 28
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ESPN Draws Heat For Displaying Disputed Map Of China

In its reporting on the NBA-China dispute, ESPN mistakenly used a disputed map of the country that has led some critics to accuse it of kowtowing to the Chinese government. During a Wednesday morning “SportsCenter,” ESPN used a map that indicated China owned Taiwan and disputed areas in the South China Sea. The Chinese government uses these maps inside their own country to show their ownership over these territories; they are not accepted internationally.

ESPN declined to comment on the use of the graphic. On Tuesday night, Scott Van Pelt’s “SportsCenter” used a completely different map of China that did not include those disputed territories. Since taking over as ESPN president last year, Jimmy Pitaro has emphasized that on-air talent should refrain from discussing politics unless it intersects with sports. The use of these two disputed maps, and the expected fallout that comes with it, illustrate why Pitaro and other ESPN execs want to stay out of politics and stick to sports.