Adrian Wojnarowski reports on basketball for ESPN. He became a media star by breaking big stories (as NBA news goes), the way Adam Schefter does with the NFL but probably more so. His tweets of major NBA news are called “Woj bombs.”
To drop these bombs, Wojnarowski relies on league sources, including players and team executives. His sources could give the information to any of a number of reporters, but they choose to give it to him. If they didn’t, Wojnarowski wouldn’t be “The Woj.” He’d just be a guy with a name that’s hard to spell.
Wojnarowski knows which side his bread is buttered on. Thus, it’s not surprising that he takes umbrage when the NBA and/or its players receive criticism from the outside — be it criticism for allowing players to become jogging billboards for political/ideological causes, criticism for kowtowing to the repressive tyrants of China, or criticism for the hypocrisy of virtue signaling coupled with kowtowing.
Wojnarowski did some virtue signaling of his own in response to this tweet by Sen. Josh Hawley:
If @NBA is going to put social cause statements on uniforms, why not “Support our Troops” or “Back the Blue”? Or given how much [email protected] makes in #China, how about “Free Hong Kong”! Today I wrote to Adam Silver to ask for answers.
We don’t know what answers, if any, Silver has provided, but Wojnarowski’s answer to Hawley, via email, was this: “F*ck you.”
Sen. Hawley is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. He clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts. He was elected Attorney General of Missouri at age 36 and U.S. Senator at age 38.
It’s no wonder, then, that Wojnarowski didn’t want to argue with Hawley. Better to express his outrage, and perhaps impress those who keep him supplied with scoops, by dropping the F-bomb on a U.S. Senator.
This is not your older brother’s ESPN, though. The “worldwide leader” has chosen to stay out, as best it can, of the political/ideological disputes that are roiling America.
Consequently, ESPN has suspended Wojnarowski. The suspension will be for one or two weeks (as I write this, it’s not clear to me which).
Wojnarowski apologized for saying “F*ck you” to Sen. Hawley. Was his apology sincere? It’s a fair question, but I don’t know the answer.
I do know this. Wojnarowski has cemented his status as the reporter of choice for NBA players. Lebron James quickly rallied to his defense. “#FreeWOJ,” the China apologist and would-be social justice warrior tweeted.
Lesser lights have already jumped on the bandwagon. They include Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Anthony Tolliver, Jamal Murray, Spencer Dinwiddie, Myles Turner, and Bam Adebayo.
Counting James, these eight luminaries attended college for a total of 12 years. Beverley’s college career at Arkansas
State ended after two years when he was suspended for academic cheating. For them, maybe the F-bomb constitutes reasoned discourse.
Sen. Hawley agrees that Wojnarowski shouldn’t be suspended. He tweeted that instead of suspending its star reporter, ESPN should do more reporting on China’s relationship with the NBA.
I admire the sentiment. As a practical matter, though, ESPN can’t really stand by and watch its personalities drop F-bombs on public officials. Maybe in a few years, if the officials are conservatives, but not yet.
The suspension, whether for a week or two weeks, is barely a slap on the wrist for Wojnarowski, which is fine with me. But it may induce those with lesser status at ESPN to engage in more reasoned expressions of disagreement than “F*ck you.”