NBA, ESPN mum on holding games in a place where gay and transgender people can face death

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No one wants to talk about the NBA playing preseason games in United Arab Emirates — not the NBA, not the Atlanta Hawks, not the Milwaukee Bucks, not ESPN.

As we relayed earlier this week, the league announced it is staging a pair of preseason games between the Bucks and Hawks in Abu Dhabi in October.

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H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East attends The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 Announcement at Dubai World Trade Centre on May 10, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East attends The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 Announcement at Dubai World Trade Centre on May 10, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
(Francois Nel/Getty Images)

The NBA and broadcast partner ESPN have been major supporters of LBGTQ rights in the U.S., but have said nothing about how the LBGTQ community has experienced massive human rights injustices in overseas locations where the NBA will soon hold games.

In Abu Dhabi, for instance, being gay or transgender is punishable by beatings or even death. It is considered a crime. Gay marriage is totally forbidden. Basically, anything but heterosexuality can get you in serious trouble.

The NBA and ESPN have to know this, as both have been very outspoken about all such issues here in the States. As we noted, the league pulled the 2016 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of a bathroom bill passed in North Carolina.

So the NBA won’t allow its All-Stars to perform in a city that passes a very basic law regarding gender and bathroom use, but it will send its teams to a place where a gay person can legally be killed just for being gay?

H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East attends during The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 Announcement at Dubai World Trade Centre on May 10, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East attends during The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 Announcement at Dubai World Trade Centre on May 10, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
(Francois Nel/Getty Images)

This deserves an explanation, but neither the NBA nor Hawks nor Bucks nor ESPN responded to requests for comment. On top of that, none of the mainstream media outlets want to touch the subject, as way too many have become PR arms for the league, as opposed to actual reporters who are willing to challenge it.

As OutKick founder Clay Travis said, “Most NBA media are terrified of angering the NBA and most sports media only share left wing attacks on the United States and pretend the rest of the world has no flaws.”

ESPN is gaining a reputation for being one such outlet. It recently protested a parental rights bill in Florida for allegedly attacking gays and transgenders. Yet it has said nothing, and likely will continue to say nothing, about the NBA playing games in a place that can punish homosexuality by death.

“It seems to me that murdering gay people is worse than not permitting kids in grades K-3 to be taught about sex-related issues,” Travis tweeted. “But I’m not an expert in woke politics. Surely ESPN won’t completely avoid this story on air, right? We need a live on air protest.”

He is talking about ESPN anchor/reporter Elle Duncan, who along with her colleagues, held a moment of silence to protest Florida’s parental rights bill during the network’s broadcast of a women’s NCAA Tournament game.

At the time, Duncan claimed the bill was “targeting our LGBTQIA+ communities.” That, of course, wasn’t true, nor is it the purpose of the legislation.

H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East pose for a picture.

H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East pose for a picture.
(Francois Nel/Getty Images)

But even if it were true, “targeting” isn’t nearly as bad as killing someone for just being gay or transgender, and you have to wonder where all those loud and proud voices from the NBA and ESPN are today.

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Here’s what OutKick founder Clay Travis had to say:

Watch full episodes of OutKick The Show by clicking here.