After playoff loss, Rubio says Miami Heat, NBA ‘politicizing’ Uvalde shooting

·2 min read

Sen. Marco Rubio offered a blistering critique of the Miami Heat after their playoff game Wednesday — and he wasn’t talking about their lopsided defeat to the Boston Celtics.

In a trio of tweets sent late Wednesday and early Thursday, the state’s senior Republican senator criticized the Heat for a pair of politically themed messages about gun control and Florida’s new voting restrictions, asking why they hadn’t been similarly critical of China despite the country’s human-rights abuses.

The senator, who is from Miami, said the organization refuses to speak up about China because of its business relationship with the country.

“The @NBA doesn’t like to talk about the billions they make from a China that enslaves Uyghur Muslims and harvests their organs,” Rubio tweeted. “But they have no problem politicizing a horrific tragedy in America.”

Rubio was responding directly to an announcement made by the Heat organization inside FTX Arena on Wednesday, per video shared in the senator’s tweet, in which fans were asked to contact their state senator “demanding their support for common-sense gun laws.” The message, delivered by the P.A. announcer inside the arena, came after a moment of silence for the victims of this week’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Later, the senator tweeted a televised ad from the Heat that urged people to register to vote after the state’s new voting laws took effect.

“The @miamiheat runs commercials calling #Florida a racist state,” Rubio tweeted Thursday, shortly after midnight. “But because @NBAChina is worth $133 million for each team, they say nothing about how China puts Muslims in concentration camps & allows no one to vote.”

The Heat declined to comment on the senator’s criticism.

This isn’t the first time Rubio has criticized the NBA over its relationship with China: In March, he and other GOP lawmakers sent a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver asking him to condemn the Chinese Communist Party while criticizing the league for “allowing the political preferences of a malevolent regime to intervene in NBA business decisions and silence its employees and players.”

The Heat lost Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday 93-80. The team now trails in the best-of-seven series 3 games to 2.

Miami Herald staff writer Anthony Chiang contributed to this report.

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