NBA Urged to End Endorsements Connected to Chinese Slave Labor

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The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China wrote a letter to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Tuesday urging players to drop their endorsements of companies that use materials made in Chinese slave labor camps.

The committee noted in the letter that numerous NBA players have deals with certain Chinese companies, such as ANTA, Li-Ning and Peak, for sponsorship of different types of athleticwear, such as jerseys and sneakers, but many of these materials use cotton from Xinjiang, the Chinese province infamous for forced labor camps.

The letter notes that the U.S. government has officially charged the Chinese government with genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and accuses the players of complicity by keeping these endorsement deals.

The letter, from Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Representative Jim McGovern, D, Mass., stated that players have continued to sign new deals with ANTA, and that “[W]e believe that commercial relationships with companies that source cotton in Xinjiang create reputational risks for NBA players and the NBA itself,” and added that “[T]he NBA and NBA players should not even implicitly be endorsing such horrific human rights abuses.” 

It continued by saying that “[W]e urge the NBPA to work with its members to raise awareness about the ongoing genocide taking place in Xinjiang and the role of forced labor in the production of products made by brands that NBPA members have endorsed. We hope that the result of such efforts would be that the players would leverage their contracts with Anta, Li-Ning, and Peak to push these companies to end their use of Xinjiang cotton. Short of that outcome, we encourage players to end their endorsement deals with these companies.”

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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.