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The China versus the NBA story is the sports business story to watch. It could be the most important sports / fandom story of the last decade. Seems like everyone is scrambling for cover. This includes the journalists. Deadspin reported yesterday that ESPN is forbidding its on air talent from discussing Chinese politics.

This could be because Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong, and instead focus on the related basketball issues. The memo, obtained by Deadspin, explicitly discouraged any political discussion about China and Hong Kong. Multiple ESPN sources confirmed to Deadspin that network higher-ups were keeping a close eye on how the topic was discussed on ESPN’s airwaves.

Given that ESPN has a distinct progressive slant on almost all issues this is a remarkable story. The progressive politics of ESPN, the NBA and many players seem to have found their match. These entities are in the business of fandom and China has 1.5 billion.



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