Former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) slammed the NBA for what he says is its gross display of hypocrisy, bending to China in recent days but openly punishing North Carolina over its transgender bathroom law in recent years.
The NBA opted to move its 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte over North Carolina’s HB2 bathroom law, which required individuals to use restrooms that corresponded with their biological gender as opposed to “gender identity.”
The NBA described the law as “discriminatory” and proclaimed that it stood in opposition to its “guiding principles of equality and mutual respect”:
NBA Statement Regarding Legislation Recently Signed Into Law In North Carolina pic.twitter.com/xwoOo9MyeR
— NBA (@NBA) March 24, 2016
McCrory, who was the state’s governor at the time, told the Charlotte Observer that the NBA’s initial response to China – a country with no shortage of human rights violations – demonstrates a stunning line of hypocrisy within the NBA.
“I see hypocrisy,” McCrory said. “They wanted to involve themselves with North Carolina commerce and an election, while not setting the same standard for China.”
“I called them out then, and it’s still true now,” he told the outlet, adding that the NBA’s opposition to the bathroom bill was likely not a principled stance in the first place.
“They were losing some sponsorships; they told me that flat-out on the phone,” McCrory told the Charlotte Observer.
“They got heavily involved with our community and elections while ignoring China,” McCrory continued.
“I told the commissioner they’ve got a lot of business in China,” the former governor added. “But they’ve got a lot of sponsors there, and that would cost them hundreds of millions.”
The NBA has been dealing with the fallout stemming from Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who tweeted support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement on Friday.
“Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” he tweeted last week.
The Chinese Basketball Association suspended its relationship with the Houston Rockets as a result, and Morey ultimately issued an apology:
2/ 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.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 7, 2019
The NBA, however, released an apologetic statement, stressing that Morey’s views do “not represent the Rockets or the NBA.”
The statement read:
We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey 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 league 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
Commissioner Adam Silver is heading to Shanghai on Wednesday in an effort to ease tensions between the two entities. He said the NBA “will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues.”
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman touted his experience in international diplomacy on Wednesday, asking Silver to book him a ticket to Shanghai and referring to himself as “Ambassador Rodman”:
@NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, I know a thing or two about diplomacy between other countries. Book me a flight to Shanghai with you! #AmbassadorRodman #Peacemaker #BasketballDiplomacy pic.twitter.com/8Xo580I18p
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) October 9, 2019