Former ESPN Host Bob Ley Says LeBron ‘Has a Responsibility’ to Speak on Chinese Human Rights Abuses

LeBron James
Getty Images/Mario Tama

ESPN’s Bob Ley took aim at those attacking the new Saudi-backed LIV golf league over the country’s human rights record. At the same time, they ignore the NBA’s connections to human rights abusing China.

As nearly two dozen pro golfers have jumped ship from the PGA Tour to join the Saudi-backed pro league, many have accused pros including Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, and Bryson DeChambeau of “sportswashing” the Saudi government’s human rights abuses — most especially the death of occasional columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Indeed, a few weeks ago, Koepka blasted the media for constantly asking about the LIV league at the expense of even the PGA Tour’s offerings.

But during his visit with Michelle Beadle’s What Did I Miss? podcast, Ley slammed the obsession over the LIV league as a bit hypocritical since the same critics are ignoring China’s human rights abuses as they report on the NBA.

“It’s real easy to be pissed off and angry about LIV Golf and the Saudis. All I ask for is philosophical and ideological consistency,” Ley said. “Apply it to China consistently, LeBron.”

Ley noted that the NBA had been found intimately connected to some of China’s worst human rights abuses, but few in the media are much interested in discussing it.

“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 said.

The former ESPN anchor noted how closely LeBron James, who had made a name for himself off the court as a “human rights activist” for U.S. issues, is connected to China.

“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, moreso than ever before, here’s an opportunity to make a stand. If you are a billionaire, you can afford to perhaps make a stand and at least become educated,” Ley continued.

Ley also pointed out that there is not much by way of freedom of speech in China.

“Freedom of speech in China is a very different thing, freedom of access to the internet is a very different thing…are we comfortable dealing with a nation like that and putting it all on the table?” Ley said. “Those are questions people have to answer. If you wanna get in a froth about LIV Golf, and you have every right to…take a pause, take a deep breath and look at China and see, should this outrage or this introspection and this attention extend to the NBA?”

Ley is 100 percent right, of course. The left-wing sports media has willfully ignored not just the NBA’s connection to China but the connections all the sports leagues have when it comes to their products and supply chains.

No one should excuse the LIV for its connections to the Saudis. But they should also not ignore China’s massive human rights abuses, either.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at:, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.