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#pounditWednesday, October 4, 2023

Report: ESPN memo told shows to avoid political talk about China, Hong Kong


An ESPN internal memo advised those who participate on the network’s talk shows to avoid talking politics about China and Hong Kong when discussing the Daryl Morey/Houston Rockets situation, according to a report.

Deadspin published a story on Tuesday about the matter that included information about the internal memo.

According to the story:

“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.”

This policy should come as no surprise. One of new ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro’s first items of business upon taking over the position was to establish a firm policy of personalities avoiding political talk. Host Dan Le Batard was one of the few who challenged that policy with comments he made during the summer.

Furthermore, it’s not hard to see why ESPN would want its on-air personalities to avoid getting into the subject. ESPN is owned by Disney, which does business in China, including having a Disneyland in Shanghai. They and the NBA are TV partners and have worked hard to develop business relationships in China that they’re trying not to ruin. And like many big businesses, they’ve chosen to appease the communist country in an effort to preserve business relationships rather than stand up for democracy and human rights/freedoms.

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