Vice President Pence blasted the National Basketball Association on Thursday, claiming that the league is “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of the Chinese Communist Party.
The NBA has been embroiled in controversy since they essentially apologized for a tweet by Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey, in support of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.
“Some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of other peoples,” Pence said.
“In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime.”
LeBron James made headlines last week for accusing Morey of not being “educated” on the China-Hong Kong issue, and pointng out the “negative” side-effects of free speech. Other players, such as Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, have chosen to focus on perceived “oppression” in America, as opposed to offering any criticism of the China.
Other frequently outspoken NBA personalities such as Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, and Greg Popovich, have all declined to criticize China.
Though not mentioned in his speech, Pence’s comments come two days after LeBron James screamed and walked off the court during the playing of the American national anthem.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn