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Former ESPN star Bob Ley on LIV Golf criticism: Should the same ‘outrage’ extend to the NBA?

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Former ESPN journalist Bob Ley wondered in a recent podcast interview if the same criticisms of LIV Golf and its ties to Saudi Arabia should apply to the NBA and its ties to China.

Ley was featured on Michelle Beadle’s podcast “What Did I Miss?” And the two former ESPN personalities spoke out about sportswashing amid the rise of LIV Golf.

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The rival golf circuit and the players who joined the league have come under intense scrutiny and have been accused of helping Saudi Arabia use sportswear laundering to alleviate criticism of the country’s human rights violations. kingdom.

Many players have accepted large sums of cash to join the league, but most have downplayed money as the reason they joined the league and left the PGA Tour.

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ESPN veteran anchor Bob Ley, right, speaks with ESPN Coordinating Director Chip Dean at the company's 40th anniversary celebration on Friday.

ESPN veteran anchor Bob Ley, right, speaks with ESPN Coordinating Director Chip Dean at the company’s 40th anniversary celebration on Friday.
(False images)

Ley told Beadle on the podcast that the same amount of scrutiny should be applied to the NBA’s relationship with China.

“The LIV Golf affair has unleashed a fury of convenient and easy outrage, not that I don’t agree with that at all… It’s very easy to get angry and angry about LIV Golf and Saudi. All I ask is consistency of philosophy and ideological. Apply it to China consistently, LeBron,” he said.

Ley cited the NBA’s response to former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet of support for Hong Kong protesters in 2019. The tweet put the NBA’s relationship with China in a bind, which later opened up the door to how close the two entities were. The result was a blackout of NBA games in China for several months, costing the league millions.

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LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman stands on a tee during the final round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England on June 11, 2022.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman stands on a tee during the final round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England on June 11, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

“There have been other reports. I mean, the Fainaru brothers on ESPN.com have shown some of the things with camps and knowledge of what the NBA is involved in,” Ley said. “China has as many problems as any other country, and The outrage is tempered by the popularity of the sport and the dollars at stake?”

He also specifically mentioned that LeBron James had an “opportunity” to raise the curtain on the issue. He hasn’t. James’ Los Angeles Lakers team was in China when the fallout from the tweet began. He waited until everyone had returned to the United States to make a statement.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw during a game against the Detroit Pistons on November 28, 2021 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw during a game against the Detroit Pistons on November 28, 2021 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
(Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I think LeBron has a responsibility and, more importantly, an opportunity.” Law said. “And it’s easy for people to jump to the conclusion that players, at a time when social voice and fairness are a very important part of sports, more than ever, this is an opportunity to take a stand.

“If you’re a billionaire, maybe you can afford to take a stand and at least educate yourself. Freedom of expression in China is a very different thing. Freedom of Internet access is a very different thing. Is there an opposition party in China? ” China? Oh no, not for the last 60 or 70 years. Are we comfortable dealing with a nation like that and putting everything on the table? Those are questions that people need to answer.

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“If you want to rage at LIV Golf, and you have every right to, pause, take a deep breath and look at China. Should this outrage and introspection extend to the NBA?”

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