An ESPN reporter apologized for sending an expletive to a U.S. Senator after the lawmaker pressed the NBA over its stance on China.
“I was disrespectful and made a regrettable mistake. I’m sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly,” Adrian Wojnarowski said in a statement.
“I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them.”
ESPN said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times: “This is completely unacceptable behavior and we do not condone it.”
“It is inexcusable for anyone working for ESPN to respond in the way Adrian did to Senator Hawley. We are addressing it directly with Adrian and specifics of those conversations will remain internal,” the statement said.
Wojnarowski from his work email sent Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) a message earlier Friday saying: “[Expletive] you.”
It came in response to a letter Hawley sent to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver accusing the professional basketball league of censoring any criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.
The NBA and NBA players union recently agreed to let players wear certain messages on their jerseys during games when the season resumes later this month.
The messages are “almost all aligned with the message of recent anti-police protests,” Hawley wrote.
“Conspicuously missing from the list of approved phrases are any in support of the victims of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including the people of Hong Kong, whose remaining freedoms are being extinguished by the CCP’s newly-enacted national security law,” he added.
Hawley asked Silver whether the NBA would allow messages of support for victims of the CCP on jerseys. If a player wore such a message, would the NBA punish him?
The NBA couldn’t be reached for comment on Saturday.
Hawley told Outkick that he didn’t want an apology from Wojnarowski.
“No, I don’t want an apology. I want ESPN to ask the NBA why they won’t let players stand up for America and be able to criticize China’s actions,” Hawley said. “But maybe ESPN won’t say anything because they benefit from the NBA’s global presence. Until ESPN speaks out, all they are really doing is enabling the Chinese Communist Party to stifle free speech in America.”