The Ethically Inert NBA Shows Its Corrupted Soul

It was less than a week ago that the New York Times’ John Branch wrote,

“…the best thing about the start of the N.B.A. season — or just the preseason, which began this week — is that it thrusts the league back into the conversation. Not just about sports, but about the connection sports have to everything else, from politics to fashion, civil rights to gun rights…The N.B.A. is comfortable being connected. Opinions count. Expression is (mostly) encouraged. Politics is not filtered through political correctness, not parsed by focus groups or marketing departments…the N.B.A. does at least one thing better than other leagues: It joins the conversation and adds to it. It is a game for adults.”

Right on, John. And here’s what the NBA just added to the conversation: the league will kowtow to a repressive totalitarian regime and punish employees who choose freedom over submissiveness if it’s good for the bottom line.

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey posted this on Twitter:

The Horror! Who in the U.S. doesn’t support the Hong Kong protesters, other than maybe Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez? Well, interestingly given Branch’s puff piece, the NBA doesn’t. The reason? Why money, of course. The NBA regards China as a growth market; never mind the slavery, political prisoners and repression of basic rights. Are you ready to ruuuuuumble???  Rockets owner quickly slapped Morey down, tweeting, 

Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization.

Well, unless a Rockets player is bashing the United States as racist…that’s just fine.

Morey was forced to take down his tweet (betting is that he will be fired), and then issued a Galileo-style apology, if Gallileo had used Twitter:

I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives…I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.

“Other perspectives.” Here’s one: “Chinese state media urges quicker trials and heavy sentences for Hong Kong protesters…People’s Daily says the city’s judiciary has been too lenient in dealing with those arrested during months of unrest Xinhua slams school of 18-year-old shot in chest by Hong Kong police for failing to denounce him, after school said it shared young people’s concerns…”

The NBA groveled some more to its New Eastern Masters, issuing a statement yesterday that  Morey’s comments “have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”

How’s your respect for Mao’s murder of 30-60 million people? Solid, is it?

Condemnation of the NBA’s position was bi-partisan, though nothing has been heard yet from Bernie or OAC. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote, “Chinese govt has a million people locked in concentration camps & is trying to brutally repress Hong Kong demonstrators – and NBA wants to “bridge cultural divides”? Cultural divides?”  Ted Cruz  wrote, “As a lifelong @HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of protestors in Hong Kong, Now, in pursuit of big $$, the @nba is shamefully retreating. We’re better than this; human rights shouldn’t be for sale & the NBA shouldn’t be assisting Chinese communist censorship.”

No, Ted, the NBA isn’t better than this. If they were better than this, they wouldn’t be acting this way.

Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke wrote,  “The only thing the NBA should be apologizing for is their blatant prioritization of profits over human rights,. What an embarrassment.”

Or “What a revelation!”


Sources: Twitchy, South China Morning Post, The Hill, NYT

21 thoughts on “The Ethically Inert NBA Shows Its Corrupted Soul

  1. It’s strange how people will invent concentration camps out of whole cloth in their quest to condemn the United States and President Trump, yet completely ignore the actual concentration camps in China in their quest to praise that regime. It’s hypocrisy built on a lie.

  2. China is still the biggest market in the world with over a billion people. Apparently they are doing pretty well financially too. Like it or not, there’s money to be made there, and the business of business is business. Unless China becomes so morally toxic no one wants to do business there, like South Africa or in some cases Israel people will keep looking the other way.

    • China is far more morally toxic than apartheid South Africa. Majorities there weren’t harvested for organs, no? Israel isn’t demolishing to the ground millennially old Palestinian worship sites, no?

  3. It’s gotta be the shoes…

    And hey, let’s hear it for the players and not just give it to ownership. Those fearless, free thinking icons of social justice. You know, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “I’m with Colin Kapernick!”

    ‘Rockets’ players James Harden and Russell Westbrook said in Tokyo today (Oct. 7), where the team is playing exhibition matches, that they “love China” and that they apologize for Morey’s comments.’

  4. Morey should have left his post up, the post did not imply in any way that the opinion in the post was anything other than his own opinion. Even though it was self-evident that the post was only his opinion because it was Morey’s twitter page NOT the twitter page of the Rockets, all Morey needed to do to satisfy the wackos trying to imply otherwise was to post the last sentence of his apology, “My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA” the rest of that was unneeded. I would have added at the end of Morey’s sentence that any competent person reading the tweet should have known that without me having to tell them but then again, that little addition of mine would probably have gotten Morey fired for publicly implying that the owner is an idiot.

    The Rockets owner was out of line!

    • Sure it does. Morey is the Rockets’ GM. Now, China will extor . . . I mean request . . . concessions from the NBA because their feelings are hurt. And, because China is a big market, with lots of viewers and cash to throw around, the NBA will capitulate. The NBA doesn’t care about Morey’s comments; no, they care that they are going to lose a ton of money. Well done.


  5. When we buy products made in China aren’t we complicit in supporting their regime? While I agree the NBA is wrong on this, I think it would behoove the rest of us to evaluate our own (inadvertent?) support of such a tyrannical state.

    • I don’t think it’s the citizen’s job to individually boycott products we have allowed to be sold here according to disagreements with their policies. I find, for example, the anti-free speech laws in the UK as objectionable as a lot of China’s policies. It’s the government’s job to use economic pressure on these countries, and I support that through my taxes. I would refuse, however, to do business with such nations personally, unless such business was aimed at reforms.

        • Indeed, if one has that luxury! When I do, I follow your recommended lead. My wife, who is still angry about the war crimes of the Japanese and the nation’s lack of honesty and accountability about them, and their trade manipulations over the decades, wants to boycott Japanese-made cars. But when our car’s transmission died, and our son, who is a Nissan mechanic, was able to save us many thousands on a lease deal, we were not in a cash flow position to spit on the savings.

    • That right there is the only reason that I’m not 100% on board with free trade. Libertarians like to believe that free trade has a corrosive effect on totalitarian regimes, and there is some evidence of that, but clever enough tyrants are able to subvert the market for their own ends, and it takes a long time with a population the size of China.

  6. “‘We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.’”

    Wasn’t that history and culture chased off to Taiwan by the current illegitimate Communist regime? Man, the NBA’s just tripping over itself with these controversial utterances.

  7. I’m honestly a bit hesitant to support the Hong Kong protests, because they seem to fall short on some parts of the Ethical Protest questionnaire. Blockading the airport mostly inconveniences their fellow countrymen, instead of the Chinese government and throwing stuff at police sounds very Boston Massacre-ish.

  8. On a tangentially related note, might I suggest Trey Parker and Matt Stone as ethics heroes? I’d have to say their “apology” would be category 11 at best, which in this case seems like the right response. The scale isn’t really intended for sarcasm though.

    I’m halfway expecting Snopes to fact check the apology.

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