Former ESPN star Bob Lay on LIV Golf criticism: Should the same “outrage” be extended to the NBA?

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Former ESPN journalist Bob Lay wondered in a recent podcast interview about whether the same criticism would come. LIV Golf and his ties with Saudi Arabia should apply to the NBA and its ties to China.

Lay appeared on Michelle Beadle’s podcast “What Did I Miss?” And two former ESPN figures spoke about sports washing against the backdrop of the appearance of the LIV Golf.

A rival golf tour and players who have joined the league have come under scrutiny and have been accused of helping Saudi Arabia use the sport to soften criticism of human rights abuses in the kingdom.

Many players accepted large sums of cash to join the league, but most of them downplayed money as the reason they joined the league and left the PGA Tour.

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ESPN host Bob Lay (right) chats with ESPN Coordinating Director Chip Dean at the company's 40th anniversary celebration on Friday.

ESPN host Bob Lay (right) chats with ESPN Coordinating Director Chip Dean at the company’s 40th anniversary celebration on Friday.
(Getty images)

Lay told Beadle in a podcast that the same scrutiny should be applied to the NBA’s relationship with China.

“The LIV Golf case has sparked a fury of comfortable and easy outrage, not that I don’t agree with it at all… It’s very easy to get angry and mad at LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia. All I ask for is Philosophical and ideological consistency. Apply it consistently to China, LeBron,” he said.

Lay mentioned The NBA’s response to A tweet by former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in support of protesters in Hong Kong back in 2019. This tweet put the NBA’s relationship with China in a difficult position, which later opened the door to how closely the two organizations are connected. The result was a shutdown of NBA games in China for several months, costing the league millions.

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LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman stands on the tee during the final round of the first LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Louis.  Albans, England, 11 June 2022

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman stands on the tee during the final round of the first LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Louis. Albans, England, 11 June 2022
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

“There were other reports. I mean, the Fainaru brothers on ESPN.com showed some stuff with camps and knowing what the NBA is all about,” Lay said. “China has as many problems as any other country, and is the outrage contained by the popularity of the sport and the dollars at stake?”

He also specifically mentioned that LeBron James had the “opportunity” to lift the curtain on the matter. He didn’t do that. James’ Los Angeles Lakers team was in China when the aftermath of the tweet began. He waited until everyone returned. USA make a statement.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a free throw during a game against the Detroit Pistons.  October 28, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a free throw during a game against the Detroit Pistons. October 28, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
(Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I think LeBron has a responsibility and, more importantly, an opportunity.” Lei said. “And it’s easy for people to conclude that players at a time when public opinion and equality are very important to the sport, more than ever before, this is an opportunity to perform.

“If you are a billionaire, you can afford to stand your ground and at least become educated. Freedom of speech in China This is completely different. The freedom to access the Internet is something else entirely. Is there an opposition party in China? Oh no, not in the last 60 or 70 years. Is it convenient for us to deal with such a nation and put everything on the table? These are questions that people need to answer.

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“If you want to get mad at the LIV Golf – and you have every right to be – take a break, take a deep breath and look at China. Should this outrage and this introspection be extended to the NBA?”