ESPN Makes Exactly Zero Mentions of Viral Video Showing Warriors Minority Owner Claiming ‘Nobody Cares’ About Uyghurs

ESPN avoids Chamath Palihapitiya controversy

Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN

Golden State Warriors part-owner Chamath Palihapitiya was blasted for admitting he does not care about China’s genocide against Uyghur Muslims. But one outlet that continues to avoid the topic is ESPN.

Outkick founder Clay Travis first called attention to ESPN’s lack of coverage over the topic. Mediaite confirmed, via the media monitoring service TVEyes, that as of 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN News have made no mention of Palihapitiya’s shocking comments.

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay?” Palihapitiya said on his All In podcast, adding that Uyghurs are “below my line” of things to care about. “Until we actually clean up our own house, the idea that we step outside of our borders with, you know, with us sort of like morally virtue signaling about somebody else’s human rights track record is deplorable.”

After the comments went viral, the Golden State Warriors issued a statement declaring “Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.” Conservatives criticized the statement for failing to mention Uyghurs, but the Worldwide Leader in Sports has yet to address any aspect of the controversy.

In 2019, another part owner of the Warriors, Mark Stevens created controversy for pushing opposing point guard Kyle Lowry from his courtside seat during the NBA Finals. Stevens, who at the time controlled an eight percent stake of the Warriors, was fined $500,000 by the NBA and banned from the league for one year.

ESPN did not avoid Stevens’ controversy in 2019, with Stephen A. Smith slamming the league for not going “stiffer and steeper” on the penalty. But ESPN and Smith have so far evaded the topic of Palihapitiya, who reportedly owns a ten percent stake in the Warriors.

While ESPN has previously shown a willingness to criticize the NBA or an owner when warranted, its avoidance of Palihapitiya’s comments echoes the league’s decision to often turn a blind eye to the deplorable human rights issues in China. The NBA preaches social and racial equality within the United States, but when it comes to China, the league prioritizes profiting off its relationship with the country.

In 2019, when then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey barged through NBA boundaries and tweeted, “stand with Hong Kong,” China retaliated by banning the league’s games from airing in the country. Morey received little support from his NBA peers and quickly issued a statement writing that he since had the opportunity to “head and consider other perspectives.”

Like ESPN, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is among the many high-profile NBA personalities who speak out against racial and social issues within the United States, but depicts a hypocritical stance on China. After Morey’s tweet caused a firestorm in 2019, Kerr referred to the story as “bizarre” and failed to support the Rockets executive.

Almost one year later, Kerr admitted he handled the backlash to Morey “really poorly.” But after Palihapitiya’s controversial comments, the Warriors head coach is staring at a second opportunity to prioritize human rights over the NBA’s relationship with China.

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