The reactions to the NBA’s “disgusting” support of the oppressive Chinese government continues to grow, as a diverse group of Americans take the woke sports league to task for supporting China over pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The controversy kicked off when over the weekend the NBA rebuked Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for a tweet reading, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” in which he came to the side of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The NBA quickly moved to rebuke Morey for his tweet for upsetting the Chinese government. Just as quickly, Morey deleted his tweet and apologized.
Not only did the NBA clamor to side with the human rights-abusing Chinese government, but, worse, the league’s press release in China was more effusive in abject apology than its statement in the U.S. press:
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 7, 2019
But not everyone felt that Morey needed to apologize. Both Republicans and Democrats have jumped to criticize the NBA for its support of China over the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, for instance, called the NBA’s reaction “disgusting” and added that it was “grotesque” for the league to punish a U.S. citizen just to “protect the NBA’s market in China.”
They allow #China to punish a U.S. citizen for free speech in order to protect NBA’s market access in China.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
Rubio was not the only Republican to slam the NBA for its slobbering support of oppressive China. Others, including Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Rick Scott, and others joined Rubio in criticizing the league.
So let me get this straight. @HoustonRockets GM Daryl Morey expresses support for Hong Kong democracy movement & Chinese government pressures NBA to fire him? Moment of truth for NBA. Will they bow to pressure from repressive, authoritarian govt? https://t.co/S9fChodCfP
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 7, 2019
It’s clear that the @NBA is more interested in money than human rights. Tonight’s statement from Commissioner Silver is an absolute joke.
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 7, 2019
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 7, 2019
Daryl Morey is right. We have an obligation to stand with Hong Kong and hold the CCP accountable for its gross violations of human rights. His willingness to speak the truth is a great embodiment of the @NBA’s global social responsibility campaign. https://t.co/eAdpxCpPJi
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) October 6, 2019
GOP Sen. Ben Sasse joined those slamming the NBA, and said that the league’s greed for Chinese cash caused it to support a nation with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
The Republicans were not alone. A growing list of Democrats also took the NBA to task for its support of China over the pro-democracy movement:
No one should implement a gag rule on Americans speaking out for freedom.
I stand with the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of democratic rights.
I stand with Americans who want to voice their support for the people of Hong Kong.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 7, 2019
The NBA is standing with the authoritarian Chinese government as they suppress democracy and shoot people in the street. I stand with the people of Hong Kong. https://t.co/QcUznmkpyx
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) October 7, 2019
China is using its economic power to silence critics—even those in the U.S.
The United States must lead with our values and speak out for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, and not allow American citizens to be bullied by an authoritarian government. https://t.co/87U4jgsAAp
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 7, 2019
Listen….some things are more important than money. Like doing the right thing. @dmorey tweeted about human rights and supporting #HongKongProtests. How ironic that you’re siding with communism to advance your greed. https://t.co/RoyJ3o3bbY
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) October 7, 2019
The only thing the NBA should be apologizing for is their blatant prioritization of profits over human rights. What an embarrassment. https://t.co/bbiwCBTwc1
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 7, 2019
But politicians were far from the only detractors of the NBA’s kow tow to China. Many others, both liberal and conservative, were also horrified by the NBA’s cash grabbing:
“When all these NBA activists actually face real potential consequences to their wallet, when they are faced with real human rights abuses, when faced with actual wrongdoing that affects over a billion people…they don’t say a damn word.”
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) October 7, 2019
So the @NBA will boycott Charlotte, NC over transgender bathrooms, but won't boycott China over Muslim internment camps?
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) October 7, 2019
This is who the NBA is apologizing to… https://t.co/GaSEvKoqze
— sharia board 👳🏻♂️👻🎃 (@SirajAHashmi) October 7, 2019
NBA: Big Money 1, free speech zero
— Jim Cramer (@jimcramer) October 7, 2019
Adam Silver, @SteveKerr, Greg Popovich, @KingJames & @JHarden13 should all be ashamed of themselves. By not supporting @dmorey's call for democracy in China the NBA has proven its "woke" act is all hypocritical bullshit. https://t.co/7qVqBNpAsC
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 7, 2019
New post: "Stand for freedom, boycott the NBA" https://t.co/uAXpjRigEX
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) October 7, 2019
The people of Hong Kong are risking their lives to stand up for human rights, and the NBA throws Darly Morey under the bus for a few bucks. Look to the streets of Hong Kong for courage, not to NBA owners. Disgraceful. https://t.co/m8VGkRVUiP
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 7, 2019
Time for the NBA to issue a statement reiterating that it supports freedom and the rights of people anywhere to engage in legitimate protest and expression. Then let the PRC and PRC basketball fans boycott the entire NBA if they want; they can focus on the CBA instead
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) October 6, 2019
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 7, 2019
Please don't forget that the NBA has a training camp in Xinjiang, where upwards of a million Muslims are in concentration camps. https://t.co/64cJiPgHKj
— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) October 7, 2019
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.