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Missouri senator Josh Hawley made sports headlines earlier this week for a letter he sent to the NBA criticizing the league for its list of pre-approved social justice messages that will be included on jerseys in the NBA’s upcoming return to action. Hawley asked why there weren’t any messages supporting the police, military, or Hong Kong protesters.

ESPN’s NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski responded to Hawley’s letter with a succinct email that read: “F*ck you.” Woj later apologized and subsequently got suspended. Now Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has jumped into the mix with a direct response challenging the senator.

Josh Hawley sends leter to NBA

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley sent out a press release on Friday describing a letter he planned to send to NBA commissioner Adam Silver that criticized the league’s decision to limit messages players can wear on their uniforms to “pre-approved, social justice slogans” while “censoring support” for law enforcement and criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

The letter called into question the NBA’s relationship with China, which has been embroiled in controversy since October when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a message in support of the Hong Kong protesters, who were involved in pro-democracy protests against the communist nation. The tweet, which was deleted, created a rift between the league and China that has reportedly cost the league more than $300 million in television revenue.

Josh Hawley also suggested in the letter how messages on the jerseys at the NBA restart should include phrasing that is in support of the United States, the American military, and law enforcement personnel, such as “God Bless America,” “Support Our Troops,” or “Back the Blue.”

Hawley and his position on Black Lives Matter

Josh Hawley’s letter came just a little more than a week after the senator made an appearance on “Fox and Friends” where he provided his thoughts on a variety of things, including the Supreme Court and Black Lives Matter. Hawley didn’t mince words when talking about the organization and its movement that has received worldwide support since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

“Black Lives Matter is an organization, I think, you just go to their website and look at what they believe. They are Marxist. There is this hatred for the United States of America that is there. The nuclear family, they say, is inherently racist. But the organization and what it is standing for and pushing, I think it’s very, very dangerous.

“The organization is trying to hijack any movement towards justice for George Floyd, for instance. They are trying to hijack that conversation away toward their own political Marxist agenda. That’s dangerous.”

With Hawley’s unambiguous sentiment toward the Black Lives Matter movement, his letter to the NBA and the request to support the police and military without a single mention of the Black Lives Matter movement makes complete sense.  

Doc Rivers calls out Josh Hawley

LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers, when asked about the situation on a conference call with reporters, was unambiguous in his response to Josh Hawley and his letter. 

“We have a senator that tweets at Woj just because he was talking about what we were going to put on the back of our jersey. And they always try to turn it into the military or the police. There’s no league that does more for the military than the NBA,” Rivers said.

Rivers is correct. Hoops for Troops was launched in 2006 and is a year-round initiative led by the NBA, its teams, and players in collaboration with the Department of Defense, USO, TAPS, and other military and veteran-serving organizations to honor active and retired service members and their families. Rivers, however, didn’t stop there.

“I’ll make a challenge: We will do things for the troops as long as he acknowledges Black Lives Matter. I think that would be really cool for him to do. You know, it’s funny, whenever we talk about justice, people try to change the message,” Rivers said. “Colin Kaepernick kneels. It had nothing to do with the troops. It had to do with social injustice, and everyone tried to change the narrative. How about staying on what we are talking about and dealing with that, instead of trying to trick us or trick your constituents?”

Josh Hawley, the President, and those in the conservative movement have made it abundantly clear where they stand. In a nation where “all men are created equal,” they stand opposed to a human rights movement that is striving for equality in the very areas they represent, and instead, would rather support the police, who are the main reason for the protests, and a human rights movement in a country on the other side of the world.


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