Yeah, I’m aware that a mass boycott of one of the four major sports isn’t going to happen, especially with Zion Williamson debuting this season and lots of intriguing off-season roster shuffles. And if a mass boycott ever did happen, it wouldn’t be triggered by a dispute in a foreign country on the other side of the world.
This isn’t a “we’ll make this happen!” rallying cry. This is an argument that it should happen. If the only moral language these venal scumbags understand is money, then the obvious thing to do is send them a message in that language.
Scout’s honor: I was going to buy a league pass to watch the games this year because of Zion and Ja Morant and to follow the new-look Lakers and Clippers. After this, not one dime. Philip Klein gets to the heart of my disgust. It’s not just the kowtowing to China that’s repulsive, it’s the cumulative hypocrisy of one “woke” American industry after another congratulating themselves for their progressive activism here at home while lapping up Chinese blood money. Mass internment of Chinese Muslims, organ harvesting, religious oppression, an ever more intrusive surveillance state, and no one says a word — until finally Hong Kongers stand up for their rights and the NBA’s moral degenerates rush to take sides with the oppressor.
F*** these people, one and all. Sometimes that’s all you can say. Although Klein said a bit more:
In fact, the NBA has prided itself of having an open policy on political activism. Commissioner Adam Silver has said he sees his job as protecting player’s free speech. When President Trump said he wouldn’t invite the 2018 NBA champion to the White House, Silver boasted of the long tradition of activism in the NBA. “I’m proud of the fact that in this league our players, our coaches, our owners, feel comfortable expressing their political points of view,” he said.
Of course, it’s easy for the NBA to be all sanctimonious about speech when it means a star player calling an unpopular American president a “bum.” But when it comes to a GM having the temerity to tweet “Fight for Freedom,” suddenly Silver cowers, and a U.S. sports league has to impose totalitarian China’s censorship rules on one of its executives.
Since, clearly the NBA only values money, above all else, if you care about freedom and are inscenced by this decision, then there is only one way to send a message to them — by denying them any of yours.
When I say “one and all,” I mean one and all. We’re a day into this and not one person associated with the NBA has expressed any shame or reluctance. Even Rockets GM Daryl Morey, whose “Fight for Freedom” tweet about Hong Kong ignited the dispute, had to issue a hostage statement to appease his boss, the league, and their Chinese communist masters. The single sleaziest statement thus far has come from new Nets owner Joe Tsai, who seized on the occasion to lecture Americans about not interfering with a totalitarian regime when it’s trying to tamp down an insurrection in the name of human rights. Mind you, Hong Kong protesters are known to carry the American flag to signal the values their movement stands for. This filth sums up what the American-born and bred NBA thinks of them:
What is the problem with people freely expressing their opinion? This freedom is an inherent American value and the NBA has been very progressive in allowing players and other constituents a platform to speak out on issues.
The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities.
Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China.
The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable.
How much ruthlessness by authoritarian superpowers towards resistance-minded provinces and neighbors has been justified in the name of fighting “separatism” in the past century? Tsai’s statement is studiously morally neutral between the two sides, framing it in terms of “sovereignty” and a tedious run-through of modern Chinese history to justify a crackdown on Hong Kong. “I am going into all of this because a student of history will understand that the Chinese psyche has heavy baggage when it comes to any threat, foreign or domestic, to carve up Chinese territories,” he whimpers. Not to go full Godwin but national trauma about the injustices of World War I was used to excuse all manner of German aggression in the quarter-century afterward as well. Even more so than the hypocrisy, the attempt by Tsai and others to defend China’s stance towards Hong Kong on the merits is egregious and unnecessary. I’d much rather they say that they frankly don’t care if every last Hong Konger is skinned alive if it’ll make the NBA an extra buck than to let themselves be coopted into Chinese propaganda efforts to paint the Hong Kong protest movement as illegitimate. Admit your venality and moral bankruptcy forthrightly. At least there’s a shred of dignity in that.
Just to make this a bit sleazier, the NBA is talking out of both sides of its mouth, feigning “neutrality” with American fans while siding openly with Beijing for China’s domestic consumption:
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 7, 2019
With any luck, this will end up a debacle for the NBA on both ends. Tencent, the network that carries NBA games in China, has already blacklisted the Houston Rockets from its coverage. If a meaningful portion of American fans tune out too, the league will understand that it has to choose between the two countries’ values. Which it does, and which other American industries will doubtless come to learn too as U.S. relations with China turn chillier. Bad enough to turn a blind eye to Chinese abuses for a buck, but it’s intolerable to force Americans like Morey to toe the Chinese state party line on moral matters as basic as whether Hong Kongers should have basic due process rights. If that’s how the NBA wants it, let them move to China. Let Zion suit up for the Shanghai Pelicans.
As a goodwill gesture, maybe the Rockets could offer to play an exhibition game for prisoners at a Chinese concentration camp. Exit question via Alex Griswold: How could anyone ever again take NBA social-justice activism seriously after this? They’re utter frauds.
Update: As fate would have it, “South Park” tackled the topic of Chinese censorship of American business in a new episode that aired just five days ago. That episode is now banned in the Chinese market. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are “sorry.”
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019