Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., joined "The Story" Thursday to discuss a bombshell ESPN report alleging that Chinese coaches at three NBA training academies in the Asian country physically abused their players and failed to provide them with promised schooling.
"It's a very disturbing report," Cotton told host Martha MacCallum. As one of the [NBA] employees said, these were basically sweatshops for young Chinese kids. And the NBA employees saw the worst kinds of child abuse.
"They even," Cotton said later, "had one of these camps in northwestern China, where China is running reeducation gulags for a religious minority ... they liken it to Nazi Germany in World War II. I understand the NBA has deep financial ties to China, but you have to ask at some point, what's wrong with the NBA?"
ESPN's report detailed how the academies, which the NBA launched in 2016, appeared to be largely under the control of the Chinese government.
"For those of us who grew up watching the epic battles of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and then watched them put on the red, white and blue for the [Olympic] Dream Team in 1992, the NBA's stance right now is very disappointing," Cotton said.
"The NBA could take a strong stance here and call the Chinese Communist Party's bluff and ask them to stop these horrific practices," the senator added. "Unfortunately, too many of its stars and executives seem to be more concerned about making a few more bucks in a Communist country than standing up for basic human liberty and dignity."
The senator also noted that the NBA's stated commitment to social justice appears only to apply within America's borders.
"The NBA portrays itself as the most politically and socially progressive of our professional sports leagues," Cotton said. "And you can wear slogans on your jerseys that are approved by the NBA, but you can't wear 'Free Hong Kong.'"