The Texas Republican portrayed WTA's actions, stressing it may end in the organization losing hundreds of millions of dollars, and how it is "a stark contrast to the NBA," which he said, "Groveled on their knees before the Communist dictators."
"Right now, the Women's Tennis Association has bigger balls than the NBA," Cruz said on the Clay Travis and Bill Sexton Show, alluding to the NBA's seeming respect to China on human rights issues. "And I'd like to see courage be contagious and more people stand up."
Steve Simon, chairman and CEO of the WTA, announced on Wednesday that the athletic corporation would drop all tournaments in China due to a lack of confirmation regarding Peng's safety after she disappeared last month when she publicly claimed a former high-level Chinese Communist Party official sexually assaulted her.
"None of this is acceptable nor can it become acceptable," Simon wrote. "If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded — equality for women — would suffer an immense setback. I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players."
The European Union asked for "verifiable proof" that Peng is safe on Tuesday, explicitly asking China to suffice "assurances that she is free and not under threat."
Peng, a three-time Olympian and former top-ranked doubles player disappeared on Nov. 3 after making a social media post accusing former CCP official Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. The post was deleted about a half-hour after it was published. Chinese authorities moved swiftly to erase the allegation rather than investigate. And for weeks, Peng disappeared from public view.
She has since reappeared, but on Wednesday, WTA chairman Steve Simon said he still has “serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation.” Citing those doubts and the government’s silence, Simon announced “the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China.”
Cruz noted this and supported Peng for her "enormous courage" in sharing her accusation.
In response, a bipartisan group of political leaders has called for the relocation of the 2022 Olympics, set to be held in Beijing, referring to the country's human rights violations. President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are among those showing support for a boycott of the games.