GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida hammered the NBA for politicizing the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, by urging fans to demand “common sense gun control laws” and to vote for change this fall.
A gunman killed 19 young children and two teachers Tuesday in an horrific mass shooting incident in the small city.
Before Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Series playoffs between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in Miami on Wednesday night, the announcer asked for a moment of silence to remember the victims and then called on fans in attendance to take political action.
“The Heat Organization, the Boston Celtics and the NBA family also mourn those who lost their lives in the senseless shooting that took place yesterday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas,” he said. “Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends and the entire Robb Elementary School and Uvalde community.”
Following the moment of silence, the announcer said, “The Heat urges you to contact your state senators by calling 202-224-3121 [the U.S. Capitol switchboard] to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws.”
“You can also make change at the ballot box. Visit Heat.com/vote to register, and let your voice be heard this fall,” he added.
The @NBA doesn’t like to talk about the billions they make from a China that enslaves Uyghur Muslims and harvests their organs
But they have no problem politicizing a horrific tragedy in America pic.twitter.com/VUXpOBbw7j
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 26, 2022
Rubio, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, tweeted in response, “The @NBA doesn’t like to talk about the billions they make from a China that enslaves Uyghur Muslims and harvests their organs.”
“But they have no problem politicizing a horrific tragedy in America,” the lawmaker wrote.
After a moment of silence for those killed in Texas school shooting, the Heat posted this on video board: pic.twitter.com/SoMtqP63al
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) May 26, 2022
The BBC reported Tuesday, “China has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against the Uyghur population and other mostly-Muslim ethnic groups in the north-western region of Xinjiang.”
“Human rights groups believe China has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years in a large network of what the state calls ‘re-education camps,’ and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms,” the outlet added.
The BBC noted the U.S., the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands are among “several countries” that have accused China of committing genocide against the Uyghurs.
Beijing denies allegations of human rights abuses.
ESPN reported last week the NBA playoffs are being shown on state-run TV in China.
The league does $5 billion in business dealings in the nation.
Further, ESPN examined the investments of 40 principal NBA owners and calculated that collectively they have more than $10 billion invested in China.
“Heat owner Micky Arison, for example, has more than $375 million tied up there through the team and his business, Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator,” according to the news outlet.
“In 2018, Carnival launched a joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corp. to establish a China-based cruise line,” ESPN said. “CSSC is a state-owned conglomerate with close ties to the Chinese military.”
“It builds aircraft carriers for the People’s Liberation Army and is developing the country’s first nuclear-powered carrier,” according to the South China Morning Post, ESPN reported.