Bob Ley, a former top journalist for ESPN, threw shade at LeBron James and the relationship that the NBA as a whole has with China as part of a recent interview in the wake of the extreme controversy surrounding the Saudi Arabian-financed LIV Golf that is attempting to steal players away from the PGA Tour.
It was reported by Fox News that Ley made the statements as part of an interview on the podcast “What Did I Miss?” hosted by Michelle Beadle.
Quite a few critics have made the claim that Saudi Arabia is attempting to use sports washing to raise its public image as it deals with heavy criticism in regards to its human rights record.
“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,” stated Ley. “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?”
Ley names James specifically in his callout, saying that the NBA megastar had the “opportunity” to inform everyone about just what was going on in China. These comments from Ley seemed to be made in the context of how a tweet from 2019 from Daryl Morey, the General Manager of Houston Rockets, created a huge problem for the NBA inside China.
It was highlighted by Fox News that James, who was with his entire team in China at that time, chose to wait for his return trip home before he issued any statements concerning the incident. Once in the U.S., James publically chided Morey, making the claim that 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, moreso than ever before, here’s an opportunity to make a stand,” Claimed Ley. “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? 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.”
“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 stated in conclusion. “Should this outrage and should this introspection extend to the NBA?”