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James among NBA stars supporting under-fire ESPN reporter

Monday July 13 2020
james_pix

De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings drives to the basket against LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on February 01, 2020 in Sacramento, California. PHOTO | THEARON HENDERSON | AFP

By AFP

LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James offered a tweet of support Sunday for ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who has reportedly been suspended for a vulgar response to an email from a US senator.

James joined other NBA players in tweeting "#FreeWoj" on Sunday, two days after Wojnarowski himself posted an apology on Twitter for his comment to Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.

The New York Post reported that ESPN had called off their reporter's planned travel this week to the NBA's "bubble" site in Orlando, Florida, where they plan to resume the coronavirus-disrupted season at the end of the month.

The Washington Post reported that the suspension would last one to two weeks and Wojnarowski would travel to the bubble at a later date.

The trouble blew up on Friday, when Hawley wrote an open letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver in which the senator criticized the league's relationship with China and called on the league to allow players to put messages in support of the military, police and Hong Kong protestors on the backs of jerseys.

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The letter came after the NBA announced it would allow players to put certain phrases on their uniforms in support of the Black Lives Matter movement when the season resumes.
Wojnarowski responded to the email press release that Hawley's office sent to him, writing "F--- you," but without barring out the expletive.

Hawley then shared that response on Twitter.

"I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake," Wojnarowski said in a statement Friday. "I'm sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly.

"I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them."

ESPN said in its own statement Friday that the comments were "completely unacceptable behavior" and that they would address the matter internally.

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