ESPN just exposed Adam Silver as the Bernie Madoff of social justice, but you'd hardly be able to tell looking at ESPN's front page.
The report - an extensive, scathing exposé by the Fainaru brothers - won't appear on First Take, ESPN Radio hosts will be asked politely not to discuss it (much safer to debate whether Patrick Mahomes was snubbed on today's NFL Top 100 unveiling) and just to cover their bases, ESPN will sneak it onto the poorly-rated, midday segment of OTL, albeit on ESPN 2.
Interestingly, though, the report was shared by SportsCenter's main Twitter account today, and retweeted by several of ESPN's top NBA reporters. Even more interesting: It generated a stunningly small amount of buzz.
SportsCenter's next post - about a Virginia Tech cornerback sitting out the 2020 college football season - received 4,000 more "likes" than ESPN's bombshell about NBA China academies where 13-year-old children were being kicked in the gut by 40-year-old coaches.
Of course, neither ESPN, nor the NBA, were surprised at all by Twitter's modest reaction. They strategically placed it on the social media platform - while hiding it everywhere else - because they know Twitter is the NBA's home court. In fact, Adam Silver and his cronies have chosen to specifically market their league toward Twitter's secular, university educated, ultra-woke target audience. For the occupants and gatekeepers of Jack Dorsey's dream world, national borders don't exist, geopolitical conflicts are a nuisance to a globalized paradise, and any story which challenges that fantasy gets squeezed by the algorithm. Naturally, Twitter and the NBA are besties.
For those of usstill interested in living in the real world, Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada provided the most important piece of journalism ESPN has produced in over a decade. Their report - one that will be swept under the rug swiftly by the restart of the NBA season, and whatever fake player-ranking controversy Stephen A. Smith conceives of - exposed a web of what one NBA coach described as "sweat camps for athletes."
Those sweat camps were set up by the man our media has crowned as the sports world's moral arbiter, Adam Silver.
"The program, launched in 2016, is part of the NBA's strategy to develop local players in a basketball-obsessed market that has made NBA China a $5 billion enterprise. Most of the former employees spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared damaging their chances for future employment. NBA officials asked current and former employees not to speak with ESPN for this story. In an email to one former coach, a public relations official added: "Please don't mention that you have been advised by the NBA not to respond."
One of those academies happened to be placed in Xinjiang, home to the modern-day cultural genocide of Muslim minority Uighurs.
Don't worry, though, because NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum said the NBA "wasn't aware of political tensions or human rights issues in Xinjiang when it announced it was launching the training academy there in 2016."
Forget that a single Google search could've cleared that up for Tatum - I'm sure if he paid attention in any of his global management courses at Harvard or Cornell, he would've known to at least call ahead.
"My job, our job is not to take a position on every single human rights violation, and I'm not an expert in every human rights situation or violation," Tatum said.
An interesting quote, given just how far Adam Silver and the NBA have gone to lean into the social justice wave spreading across the United States.
In a rational world, today would've exposed Adam Silver as a magician, left to play 52 Pick-Up after spilling his deck of woke cards all over our living rooms. But, thanks to Jack Dorsey's dream world, the story will never reach most of our living rooms. It won't be discussed on television or mainstream radio waves, and the few who enthusiastically share this story will be sneered at by blue-checkmarks as "dog whistlers," signaling to America's deplorables that we're just as xenophobic and nationalist as them.
There is still one rational world. The analog world - where nation-states are still relevant, crass moments are forgiven and woke lexicon is almost never used, even by Jack Dorsey's digital soldiers. Unfortunately for Adam Silver, the analog world is where most sports viewers still live. It's probably why NBA ratings were down 15-20% nationally to begin this season. But, Silver needn't worry. In Jack Dorsey's dreamworld - the one most sports executives are hypnotized by - retweets and likes are all that matter, because at least they come from the evolved, progressive, Twitter class.