ESPN Suspends Star NBA Reporter Adrian Wojnarowski For Obscene Tweet To US SenatorDeadline
Wojnarowski will not be in Orlando, Florida to cover the NBA restart of its pandemic-shortened season. The length of his suspension has not been revealed.
Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, sent a mass letter criticizing NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s relationship with China. He asked why “Free Hong Kong” and other conservative messages weren’t a part of the league’s initiative to allow players to put a social justice statement on their uniforms in place of their names.
On Friday, Hawley posted a screenshot Wojnarowski’s email on his Twitter feed, noting, “Don’t criticize #China or express support for law enforcement to @espn. It makes them real mad.”
Wojnarowski has apologized for his tweet in a statement, and said he would contact the Senator directly. ESPN also issued a company apology.
The company statement came after Wojnarowski tweeted “F**k you” to Hawley, who asked in a tweet and letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver why NBA players were not allowed to put “Free Hong Kong,” “Support Our Troops,” “Back The Blue” and other conservative statements on their shirts.
The league and its players association have approved 29 social justice statements that players can optionally have on their shirts instead of their names for the reopened NBA season. The list includes phrases like “Black Lives Matter,” “Say Their Names,” and “I Can’t Breathe,” among others.
The NBA will also have “Black Lives Matter” on its courts.
ESPN’s statement indicated that any discipline will not be made public. “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.”
Wojnarowski also issued a statement apologizing for the tweet. Why he reacted so emotionally to the senator’s request is unclear.
“I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake,’ Wojnarowski said in his statement. “I’m sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly. I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them.”
Hawley said in a responding tweet that he didn’t want an apology fro mWojnarowski. Instead, he urged ESPN to “call out the NBA.”
“Don’t make @wojespn apologize. He’s just saying what he really thinks. Call out the @NBA. You know, your job.”