ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski apologized for a profane email response he sent to Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) on Friday.
ESPN reprimanded Wojnarowski for his conduct and termed it as "completely unacceptable behavior."
Hawley sent a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Friday with the subject line saying "Senator Hawley Blasts NBA for Kowtowing to Beijing Refusing to Support U.S. Military and Law Enforcement."
Two minutes later, Wojnarowski responded on his ESPN account from his phone with two words: "F--- you."
After Hawley made Wojnarowski's reply public with a tweet, Wojnarowski issued his apology.
"I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake," Wojnarowski said in his statement. "I'm sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly. I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them."
ESPN's statement indicated that any discipline will not be made public.
"This is completely unacceptable behavior and we do not condone it," ESPN said. "It is inexcusable for anyone working for ESPN to respond in the way Adrian did to Senator Hawley. We are addressing it directly with Adrian and specifics of those conversations will remain internal."
Hawley said he isn't interested in an apology from Wojnarowski. He also responded to ESPN's statement:
"Don't make @wojespn apologize. He's just saying what he really thinks. Call out the @NBA. You know, your job"
In addition to questioning the NBA's relationship with China, Hawley's letter also asked why the league won't allow phrases like "Support Our Troops" and "Back the Blue" on player jerseys once the league restarts play on July 30 near Orlando, Fla. The league also has outlawed any social justice phrases that pertain to China.
Last October, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey received backlash from the NBA's Chinese partners after tweeting support of protestors in Hong Kong. The NBA backed Morey's free speech rights, but the remark caused an icy situation with China for the league with a financial fallout estimated at $400 million by Silver.
--Field Level Media