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Dwyane Wade. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Some Republican lawmakers are demanding that NBA players end their endorsement contracts with Chinese sports retailers Anta and Li-Ning, which continue to source cotton from the Xinjiang region, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. government has warned that businesses with supply chains and investments in Xinjiang — where China has been accused of carrying out a genocide against Uyghur Muslims — run a "high risk" of violating U.S. laws on forced labor.

State of play: NBA players who have deals with Anta or Li-Ning include the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler, Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson and former Heat player Dwyane Wade, who has a lifetime endorsement contract with Li-Ning.

What they're saying: "Americans can’t and shouldn’t conduct business with companies and players that profit through human slavery," Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told Politico.

  • "And that includes NBA players — they can’t sign endorsement deals and benefit off slave labor," he added.
  • "If they didn’t know [their corporate sponsor] sourced slave labor cotton from Xinjiang, that’s one thing," Perry said. "But if they do know … they are complicit with slavery."

Yes, but: Congress does not have any power to force players to end those contracts, experts told Politico.

Driving the news: House lawmakers are forming a bipartisan caucus to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its oppression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, Axios' Sarah Mucha reports.

  • Its goal is to "support legislation aimed at addressing the largest coordinated human rights abuse campaign of the 21st century," according to a group release.

Go deeper: First look: Lawmakers form bipartisan Uyghur caucus

Go deeper

Aug 27, 2021 - Health

NBA staff must be vaccinated if around players, referees

Fully vaccinated fans are seen in the vaccinated section of the stadium during the NBA Play-In Tournament game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on May 19. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The NBA said Friday that all personnel who will be in close proximity to players and referees must be fully vaccinated, according to a company memo shared with Axios.

State of play: This includes anyone who travels with teams, those who are around the bench areas and those who have access to the locker rooms. Team staff must be vaccinated by Oct. 1.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.