In response to allegations that NBA players and the league are profiting from companies accused of forced labor, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., has a direct message to U.S. consumers: ''If you learn that NBA players are profiting off slave labor, don’t buy their apparel.''
This comes after the revelation last month that the NBA and more than a dozen players were linked to Chinese sportswear firms Anta and Li-Ning. Those firms' cotton supply chains are implicated in forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province.
Perry and fellow Reps. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., Ronny L. Jackson, R-Texas, and Greg Steube, R-Fla., have requested the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control place the firms on the Specially Designated Nationals list, according to Politico. SDN designation blocks the assets of individuals and companies listed and prohibits any U.S. citizens or permanent residents from doing business with them.
The list of NBA stars with ties to Anta and Li-Ning include Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. All have signed endorsement deals with Li-Ning or Anta, according to the Politico report. Retired Miami Heat star and part-owner of the Utah Jazz, Dwyane Wade, inked a lifetime endorsement deal with Li-Ning in 2018.
''Americans can’t and shouldn’t conduct business with companies and players that profit through human slavery,'' said Rep. Perry. ''And that includes NBA players — they can’t sign endorsement deals and benefit off slave labor.''
He added, ''If they didn’t know [their corporate sponsor] sourced slave labor cotton from Xinjiang, that’s one thing,'' Perry said. ''But if they do know ... they are complicit with slavery.''
So far, none of the players or the league have responded to multiple media sources requesting comment.
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