The NBA’s youth training schools in China are reportedly a hotbed of students’ physical abuse and mistreatment.
Youth who enroll in NBA academies in China are physically beaten by their instructors and not provided with proper education; an ESPN report released Wednesday said.
According to Fox News, the report said the academies, launched in 2016, have links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This information was corroborated by a former coach who explained; they were, in essence, working for the Chinese government (CCP).
Several complaints have been filed by coaches at various NBA academies, including a facility in Xinjiang. In this region, China is accused of keeping more than one million ethnic minorities in internment camps.
Bruce Palmer, a former head coach of a private basketball school that had an agreement with the league and even allowed it to adopt the name “NBA Training Center,” said he often had to tell Chinese coaches not to physically harm athletes, according to CBS Sport.
The main problems were that NBA employees were placed under Chinese authority and that the league was prevented from working with China’s elite players, Palmer said.
An ESPN investigator revealed that a former coach said he saw a Chinese instructor throw a ball into a young player’s face and “kick him in the guts.”
“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 former coach said. “We’re part of that. The NBA is part of that,” according to the IBTimes.
Regarding the reported cases of abuse, ESPN reported that NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said he had received only a “handful” of complaints while assuring that training programs were reevaluated.
At the same time, Tatum left the responsibility on the academy coaches by stating, “We don’t have oversight of the local coaches, of the academic programs or the living conditions,” he added. “It’s fair to say we were less involved than we wanted to be.”
According to CBS Sport, allegations of abuse of NBA youth academy graduates also point to the academic environment they allegedly provide. One of the coaches ended his contract early because of the players’ lack of schooling.
“I couldn’t continue to show up every day, looking at these kids and knowing they would end up being taxi drivers,” he said, according to journalist Steve Fainaru and his brother Mark Fainaru-Wada.
As Fox News notes, “Over the past year, the NBA’s intense relationship with China has been scrutinized after league players and coaches have largely refrained from criticizing the country’s human rights violations and expressing their support for Hong Kong.