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,
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!”