CNN's Wolf Blitzer avoids mentioning China during lengthy interview with NBA commissioner

The roughly 16-minute interview followed ESPN's bombshell report about alleged child abuse at NBA's training academies in China

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer had a lengthy interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver but ignored the basketball league's controversial ties to China.

Over the past year, the NBA's intense relationship with China has been scrutinized after the league's players and coaches have largely refrained from criticizing the country's human rights violations and expressing support for Hong Kong.

On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN ran a bombshell report that exposed alleged child abuse that has taken place at the NBA's training academies in China and its failure to provide schooling, despite Silver's previous vow that education would be "central" to the program.

"A former league employee compared the atmosphere when he worked in Xinjiang to 'World War II Germany,'" ESPN reported.

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However, nearly two hours after ESPN ran its report, Silver appeared on "The Situation Room" and not only was not asked about the explosive exposé but took no questions about the league's relationship with China altogether.

Instead, Blitzer spent the roughly 16-minute interview discussing the NBA's ability to resume its season amid the coronavirus outbreak.

NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck slammed CNN for omitting the subject of China from its interview with Silver, tweeting, "It's like CNN sucks up to China and doesn't care about the concentration camps going on over there."

Houck also noted that CNN's parent company is TimeWarner, which also owns TNT, a television partner of the NBA.

ESPN's report detailed how the NBA training academies in China appeared to be largely under the control of the Chinese government with one coach who worked for the program calling it "a sweat camp for athletes."

Multiple NBA employees filed complaints about how they witnessed Chinese coaches "strike teenage players" and the lack of education the young participants were receiving.

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Mark Tatum, the NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, told ESPN that the league is "reevaluating" and "considering other opportunities" for the program.

Earlier this month, criticism of the NBA's ties to China was renewed after it was discovered that customers were prohibited from ordering custom gear that read "Free Hong Kong" on its online store.

The store's operator, Fanatics suggested the phrase was "inadvertently prohibited" and the ban was lifted. Days later though, the NBA pulled all custom gear from its online store.

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ESPN's prominent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski also raised eyebrows when he sent Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., a profane response to the lawmaker's criticism of the league's decision of “pre-approved, social justice slogans” while “censoring support” for law enforcement and criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

Wojnarowski issued an apology and was temporarily suspended by the network.