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3 NBA academies in China accused of child abuse, lack of schooling

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The NBA has been hold responsible on several allegations of ill treatment of its young players abroad. The accusations have come from staffs at three NBA academies in China, which describe reports of child abuse and improper schooling of the underage athletes.

NBA
Image Courtesy: Reuters

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NBA’s controversy with China started back in October 2019, when American sports executive and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests. Now, a through and through investigation by ESPN has revealed that the young players at three NBA academies in China have been facing abuse from Chinese coaches.

American coaches at NBA’s Chinese academies report child abuse and improper schooling

According to the ESPN reports, the allegations were raised by many American coaches at the NBA academies across China. Two coaches have been reported to have already resigned, following the ill treatment of the young athletes.

At least three cases of physical torture by the Chinese coaches were reported. One former American coach had narrated a horrific instance, when a local coach threw a basketball at a young player’s face, and then kicked him in the guts.

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“Imagine you have a kid who’s 13, 14 years old, and you’ve got a grown coach who is 40 years old hitting your kid,” the coach was quoted by ESPN, “We’re part of that. The NBA is part of that.”

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One of the three NBA academies in China, which is now closed off, is located in the Western province of Xinjiang, the same province which has been reported to hold millions of Uyghur Muslims in barbed wire camps. Opening an academy in Xinjiang had raised fingers at NBA, and now reports of improper schooling have come from that said academy.

The ESPN report further stated the players at the Xinjiang academy were living in congested dormitories, holding 8-10 players in rooms meant for only two. The academy also failed to provide formal schooling to the teenagers, and some of them had been left out of training. Another coach described the Xinjiang academy as “a sweat camp for athletes.”

Mark Tatum, the NBA deputy commissioner and in charge of the league’s oversees operation, said that only a few such cases were reported, but further added that the NBA is ‘reevaluating’ the academy programmes.

“One of the lessons that we’ve learned here is that we do need to have more direct oversight and the ability to make staffing changes when appropriate,” Tatum spoke to ESPN regarding the reports from China.

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“We don’t have oversight of the local coaches, of the academic programs or the living conditions,” he continued, “It’s fair to say we were less involved than we wanted to be.”

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