As the dawn of the NBA regular season looms, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey decided to exercise his 1st Amendment right of freedom of speech when he tweeted: “Fight For Freedom Stand with Hong Kong” in support of their protests against Mainland China.
The Communist Chinese, the NBA’s largest international market, took offense and their consulate general informed the league “to immediately clarify and correct the mistakes,” and that they would no longer broadcast NBA games.
The resulting international political firestorm from the world’s premier basketball league underscored how unconcerned the NBA is for equality, freedom and social justice when it affects their bottom line. According to Forbes, that bottom line was more than $8 billion last season, with over $500 million streaming in from China.
With so much cash on the line, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed regret that Daryl Morey’s tweet offended “our friends and fans in China.” Players then jumped through hoops to underscore “how complicated” the situation was. Those Chinese complications include the harvesting of organs, imprisoning and persecuting religious groups, and forcing abortions on women.
Morey, whose team is the most popular NBA franchise in the Middle Kingdom, was quickly taken to task by NBA brass. Morey responded by apologizing to the point of humiliation in what was a complete abdication of any moral values.
Apparently, the National Beijing Appeasers aren’t so “woke” when their wallet is emptied.
Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver informed CNN, that “part of being an NBA player is social activism and a sense of an obligation, social responsibility, and a desire to speak up directly about issues that are important.” Silver stated the league wants players to “be multi-dimensional people and fully participate as citizens.” Silver said he was proud of the players and coaches after the Golden State Warriors’ snubbed the customary White House invite in protest of President Trump.
That same year, the league refused to play its annual All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina because of their HB2 bathroom law, which prevented local governments from forcing businesses to allow gender-confused individuals to use bathrooms designed for the opposite sex.
The NBA has no issue in boycotting American cities for trans-bathrooms, but censors critics of Communist China. Long gone are the days of mostly apolitical professional athletes as political activism is now the norm. When the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick kept kneeling during the National Anthem, LeBron James, and a host of other NBA celebrities defended Kaepernick.
During the heyday of Black Lives Matter, the NBA allowed players to wear slogan-printed T-shirts in support, and the Sacramento Kings even partnered with their local branch.
Virtue signaling and political correctness reigns in the NBA, provided their bottom line continues to grow. Why should things like suppressing freedoms, mass incarceration of political and religious opponents and other human rights abuses derail a multiplying money train?
The NBA has revealed their true color – green blinded by greed – a toxic duo. They could care less about freedom for Hong Kong, or any other egregious human rights violations that are routine in Mainland China.
Free speech must never coincide with totalitarian international politics when boatloads of cash are in jeopardy of sinking. Such avarice validates how the Chinese Communists are imposing their will on free speech within the United States.
Even the NBA fan base has got in on the protests. At least two fans were booted from a Philadelphia 76ers game – a team named after the founding year of the American Republic – for having signs saying: “Free Hong Kong.”
Are we becoming more like China than China is like us?
Who would have thought that a simple tweet from an NBA executive would unite Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Republican Ted Cruz, who signed a joint letter with six other lawmakers saying it was “outrageous that the NBA has caved” to the Chinese government.
Not only is the NBA a hypocrite, but so are their corporate sponsors like Nike for the phony virtue signaling it has done for a generation.
When access to China’s 1.4 billion potential customers is in the balance, or supporting our national ideals; it’s no technical foul, but a no contest where loyalties lie.
After all, it is all about the “yuans.”