ESPN is going to stick to sports and avoid angering China with political talk about the nations human rights violations.
For the past week, the NBA has faced a firestorm from China after Daryl Morey posted a tweet supporting protestors in Hong Kong.
Morey deleted the tweet and released a statement showing regret that people in China were angered by his solidarity with Hong Kong while Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta distanced himself from Morey.
This morning, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement backing Morey but also attempted to smooth things over with the Chinese government that was angered by Morey’s tweet.
China’s state-run TV, CCTV, responded to Silver’s latest statement by vowing to remove all NBA games from their channel.
Apparently, ESPN, which is owned by Disney, wants to avoid controversy and has directed all personalities to avoid political discussions regarding Hong Kong/China.
“Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong, and instead focus on the related basketball issues. The memo, obtained by Deadspin, explicitly discouraged any political discussion about China and Hong Kong.”
ESPN’s stance is not surprising considering they’ve vowed to avoid political talk ever since Jimmy Pitaro took over as President of the network.