Taiwan group protests against NFL for labeling Taiwan as part of China

12/18/2021 03:37 PM
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Image taken from (twitter.com/NFL345)
Image taken from (twitter.com/NFL345)

Los Angeles, Dec. 17 (CNA) Professional American football league National Football League (NFL) has labelled Taiwan as a part of China in its latest global marketing plan, igniting protests by a Taiwanese civil group in the United States on Friday.

The controversy erupted after the NFL announced in a statement on Wednesday that 18 teams have been granted access to 26 International Home Marketing Areas (IHMA) across eight different countries.

The statement showed a color-coded world map that identified Taiwan as the same country as China, with both colored in red under the market of the Los Angeles Rams.

"This ground-breaking, new initiative grants clubs access to international territories for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of an important, long term, strategic effort to enable clubs to build their global brands while driving NFL fan growth internationally," the statement said.

Ken Wu (吳兆峯), deputy head of the Los Angeles chapter of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, protested against the NFL statement on Friday.

"The existence of the 23 million people in Taiwan cannot be ignored in this way. We ask the NFL to make corrections and apologize," Wu told CNA. "The NFL should harden up and not kowtow to China."

American football is one of the most complex sports in the world, and it is also a representative sport that Americans are most proud of, Wu said.

Many Taiwanese immigrants and international students living in the U.S. also love to watch American football, Wu said, urging the NFL not to disappoint hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese fans.

Wu, a fan of the Seattle Seahawks for 25 years, said he was happy to see American football expand overseas and welcomes the NFL to the Taiwan market so that more Taiwanese people will watch the annual championship game Super Bowl, but he has hopes of letting the league's officials know that "Taiwan is not part of China."

The incident is said by American news website The National Desk to be a similar controversy as that of the U.S. White House cutting the video feed of Taiwan's digital minister Audrey Tang (唐鳳) during the U.S. Summit for Democracy last week, while she displayed a map that differentiated her country from China.

The White House offered no formal comment, but the State Department said "confusion" over screen-sharing resulted in Tang's video feed being dropped, and called it "an honest mistake."

American media organization Fox News also reported on the NFL incident.

"The National Football League (NFL) raised eyebrows on Wednesday by labeling Taiwan as being part of mainland China," Fox News said.

(By Lin Hung-han and William Yen)

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Update

Dec. 24: Taiwanese-U.S. groups slam NFL for labeling Taiwan part of China

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