Congressmen to NBA: ‘Don’t Let Sports Become Exploited for Political Purposes’

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a press conference on February 13, 2016 in Toro

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver citing the league’s “business judgment,” rather than a high-minded civic purpose, as the reason he pulled the All-Star Game from Charlotte provoked a rebuke Thursday from 17 House members.

“The NBA recognizes that it cannot choose the law in every county, state, and city in which it does business,” Silver wrote this week in a one-page response to an earlier letter by Congressman Robert Pittenger. “We can, however, make business judgments as to where we will be able to conduct our events successfully.”

Pittenger told Breitbart Sports, “His response back to me was just void of anything that demonstrated that they had a reasonable basis for what they were doing.” The North Carolina congressman initially complained to Silver of the league’s hypocrisy in pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte but playing preseason games in Beijing and Shanghai. Silver addresses the Republican’s charge only in an oblique way in his letter.

So, Pittenger on Thursday penned a response to Silver’s letter back to him. This time, he enlisted sixteen of his colleagues to sign the missive. It reads in part:

Your response clarifies the NBA’s single focused business objective.

The pressure faced by the NBA and other companies highlights a tragic reality. Liberal activists are more concerned with allowing men into the girls’ locker room than standing up for female dissidents in China who face unspeakable sexual abuse and torture, or standing up for the religious minorities from whom the Chinese government forcibly harvest vital organs.

We respectfully submit that the exercise of these barbarous acts in China have long been in the public domain prior to the NBA pursuing a lucrative opportunity in China. We understand you have chosen to bow to the firestorm in this country. The lack of free speech in China provides a safe haven for you to advance your business interests.

The co-signers of the letter include Republicans Walter B. Jones, Jeff Duncan, Jody Hice, Louie Gohmert, Brian Babbin, Tim Wahlberg, Kevin Kramer, David Rouzer, Trent Franks, Vickie Hartzler, Steven Pallazo, Richard Hudson, Steve King, Ted Yoho, and Doug LaMalfa.

The NBA pulled the annual exhibition from Charlotte after House Bill 2, which restricts multiple-occupancy public bathrooms in state buildings to people of the biological sex indicated on the entrances, became law. Despite delving into politics to punish Charlotte, the NBA continues to promote two preseason games in China between the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets.

Thursday’s letter to Silver concludes, “Don’t let sports become exploited for political purposes. Rise above, play ball!”


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