A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers fiercely criticized the NBA in a Wednesday letter to commissioner Adam Silver, demanding the league scale back its operations in China and take a stronger stand against Chinese government pressure.
The ideologically diverse coalition of lawmakers — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — blasted Silver for the NBA’s initial response to China after the Houston Rockets’ general manager expressed support for demonstrators in Hong Kong.
“It is outrageous that the Chinese Communist Party is using its economic power to suppress the speech of Americans inside the United States,” wrote the lawmakers. “It is also outrageous that the NBA has caved to Chinese government demands for contrition.”
Joining Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez on the letter were Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowksi (N.J.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Republican Reps. Mike Gallagher (Wis.) and Jim Banks (Ind.), and GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), and Ben Sasse (Neb.).
The bipartisan letter marks the latest escalation in congressional backlash to the NBA’s handling of a controversy involving a now-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.