#FreeWoj Is Trending Because ESPN Won't Let NBA Twitter Have Nice Things

Illustration for article titled #FreeWoj Is Trending Because ESPN Won't Let NBA Twitter Have Nice Things
Screenshot: ESPN

There’s a time and place for proper decorum, but when a Republican senator trolls the NBA for “kowtowing to Beijing” and “withdrawing support” from the military, trust and believe that world-renowned NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski—affectionately known as “Woj” to those of us who eat and breathe basketball—is with the shits.


On Friday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) fired off a goofy-ass mass email outraged at the NBA’s decision to allow players to wear personalized messages on their jerseys addressing social justice:

The truth is that your decisions about which messages to allow and which to censor—much like the censorship decisions of the CCP—are themselves statements about your association’s values. If I am right—if the NBA is more committed to promoting the CCP’s interests than to celebrating its home nation—your fans deserve to know that is your view. If not, prove me wrong. Let your players stand up for the Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong. Let them stand up for American law enforcement if they so choose. Give them the choice to write “Back the Blue” on their jerseys. Or “Support our Troops.” Maybe “God Bless America.” What could be more American than that?

To which Woj provided the following email response:

Fuck you.

Even though Woj’s retort was entirely justified, ESPN wasn’t exactly enthused about one of its employees airing out a US Senator.

“This is completely unacceptable behavior and we do not condone it. It is inexcusable for anyone working for ESPN to respond in the way Adrian did to Senator Hawley,” ESPN said in a statement. “We are addressing it directly with Adrian and specifics of those conversations will remain internal.”

Apparently “addressing it directly with Adrian” meant suspending his ass, because that’s exactly what happened this weekend—which meant breaking news like Lakers guard Rondo Rajon fracturing his thumb on Sunday came from other sources.


As you can expect, NBA Twitter is going through it without breaking news—commonly referred to as “Woj bombs”—being provided by our lord and savior, and as a result, #FreeWoj has been a trending topic since the 51-year-old dissolved into thin air on Friday. More importantly, NBA players have been practically tripping over each other to let it be known where they stand on the matter.


For those wondering what the penalty for Woj’s clapback cost him, the New York Post reports that Woj will go benched and unpaid for two long-ass weeks—but yes, he will be back in time for the NBA’s return on July 30. (Look at God)


In the interim, now would be an opportune time to follow The Athletic’s Shams Charania because where in the hell else are you gonna get your hoops news fix? Fox News?


#FreeWoj, dammit.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.



Isn’t there anyone in the NBA hierarchy with the balls to say “It’s not Hawley’s place to dictate how our players express themselves?”