ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski makes news, literally. His #WojBombs are the lifeblood of any NBA Twitter fan hungry to find out about the next trade, transaction, injury, or update. But on July 10, Woj became the news when Missouri Senator Josh Hawley included him on a press release email list regarding the NBA and social causes and its relationship with China, to which the ESPN reporter responded simply, “Fuck you.”
Don’t criticize #China or express support for law enforcement to @espn. It makes them real mad @Outkick pic.twitter.com/WJDxrotUBD
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 10, 2020
While the merits of Woj’s response to Hawley’s concern-trolling press release are up for debate, the response was unprofessional given his position and it was fairly obvious what was going to happen next. Both ESPN and Woj issued statements, condemning the response and foretelling of potential punishment to come.
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) July 10, 2020
Sure enough, that punishment came in the form of a two-week suspension from his duties covering the NBA for ESPN. Meanwhile, the #FreeWoj hashtag trended on Twitter as various NBA players and fans came to his defense. It was a critical time for someone like Woj to be involved in the NBA bubble in Orlando and his absence was largely felt.
However, the reporter magically returned on Friday in the most Woj way possible, dropping a Woj Bomb about a major NBA injury.
Indiana's Domantas Sabonis has a signficant foot injury and will leave the Orlando bubble to seek treatment from a specialist, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 24, 2020
Per Richard Deitsch, Woj’s suspension did indeed end on Friday and now ESPN is working to send him to Orlando so he can enter the bubble and cover the league as he normally would.
NBA Media news: Adrian Wojnarowski's ESPN suspension ends tomorrow. Per sources: Woj will ultimately end up reporting from inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, though the dates on that are still being worked on.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 23, 2020
In the meantime, while he’s probably very happy to be back to reporting the news, Woj did do one interview of his own, chatting with the NY Post’s Andrew Marchand. In their discussion, Woj says “I regretted sending that email” and does not fault ESPN for doing what he feels they had to do, saying “I accept it. I left them no choice. You can’t do what I did and not expect there to be consequences.”
“I took away focus from the company,” Wojnarowski said. “In that way, I think I let people down. It is a difficult enough time that we are living in, that the company is operating in, that everybody is having to deal with. I made it harder for everybody. That was difficult to come to grips with.”
“I can’t send an email like that to a senator or anybody in my position at ESPN. That’s not a way I can express myself or should express myself to anyone.”
Wojnarowski added that he has reached out to Hawley’s offices in both Washington and Missouri but has not heard back from the senator or any of his staff.
As for whether or not the incident may have soured the relationship between Woj and ESPN, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Marchand spoke with Connor Schell, ESPN’s executive vice president of content, who reiterated that Wojnarowski “made a mistake here, owned it and apologized for it. We are in a good place for this season and beyond and we are moving forward.”
Woj added that “to me, I have the best job in the world at the only place I want to do it at.”