A former top journalist for sports network ESPN took verbal aim at NBA great LeBron James and China during a discussion about a Saudi-launched professional golf league.
Bob Ley called out James and the NBA over the latter’s relationship with China and the former’s support of it during a discussion about the Saudi Arabian-financed LIV Golf, which is poaching golfers away from the PGA Tour, The Daily Wire reported.
Ley made his remarks during an interview on Michelle Beadle’s podcast “What Did I Miss?” Fox News added.
Some have accused the Saudis of using sports to bolster the country’s public image following criticism over its human rights record, something Ley found hypocritical given China’s abuses.
“The LIV Golf thing has unleashed a fury of convenient and easy outrage, not that I disagree with it at all. … It’s real easy to be p—– off and angry about LIV Golf and Saudi. All I ask for is philosophical and ideological consistency. Apply it to China consistently, LeBron,” Ley said.
“There’s been other reporting. I mean, the Fainaru brothers at ESPN.com have shown some of the things with camps and knowledge of what the NBA’s involved with. China has as many issues as any other country, and is the outrage tempered by the popularity of the sport and the dollars at stake?” he asked.
He called out James by name and said that the legendary NBA forward had an opportunity to “expose” some of China’s abuses. His comments came in the context of how a 2019 tweet from Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, spurred controversy and a huge problem for the NBA in China.
The Daily Wire:
Fox News noted that James, whose team was in China at the time, waited until he returned to the U.S. before he made a statement about the incident. James attacked Morey publicly, claiming he “wasn’t educated on the situation” and that there were “a lot of negatives that comes with” having free speech.
“LeBron, I think, has a responsibility, and an opportunity more importantly. And it’s easy for people to come to the conclusion that players, at a time when social voice and equity are very much a part of sports, more so than ever before, here’s an opportunity to make a stand,” Ley said.
“If you are a billionaire, you can afford to perhaps make a stand and at least become educated. Freedom of speech in China is a very different thing. Freedom of access to the internet is a very different thing. Is there an opposition party in China?” he continued.
“Oh no, not for the last 60 or 70 years. Are we comfortable dealing with a nation like that and putting it all on the table? Those are questions people need to answer,” he continued.
“If you want to get into a froth about LIV Golf — and you have every right to — take a pause, take a deep breath, and look at China,” he concluded. “Should this outrage and should this introspection extend to the NBA?”