The NBA has received complaints from employees about human rights concerns inside the league's youth-development program in China, according to an ESPN story published Wednesday.
The program was established in 2016 as a way to develop local players. League officials reportedly were informed by American coaches at three NBA training academies that their Chinese partners were physically abusing players. Additionally, education was supposed to be a key part of the program, but the academies failed to provide schooling.
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told ESPN the NBA is "reevaluating" and "considering other opportunities" for the academy program, which has operated out of sports facilities run by the Chinese government.
At the now-closed academy in Xinjiang, a police state in western China, American coaches were frequently harassed, according to the report. The atmosphere in Xinjiang was compared to "World War II Germany" by one former league employee.
"We were somewhat humbled," Tatum said. "One of the lessons that we've learned here is that we do need to have more direct oversight and the ability to make staffing changes when appropriate."
ESPN launched its investigation after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey put a message on Twitter in October in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters. The tweet led to the Chinese government pulling the NBA from state television, a move that stands to this day and has cost the league hundreds of millions of dollars.
ESPN's report surfaced just a day before the NBA's 2019-20 season restart from a bubble atmosphere in Orlando. The league set a goal to put the current social justice and Black Lives Matter movements in America at the forefront of its restart.
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