Why criticize the NBA in China? To make the words and actions of every NBA employee impotent after they return from their trip from China. Demonize their silence. Make democracy sacred and then question why the NBA isn’t supporting democracy in China. Make it seem as though freedom of speech in America comes without consequences and then justify why rights should come before profits…sounds good don't it?
The politicians have given an answer the NBA has refused to submit to and because of that, Americans are expecting to hear and see the NBA respond in a manner that the NFL and other big corporations were not expected too. It’s easy to suggest sacrifice instead making sacrifices. The NBA is being expected to sacrifice when others wouldn’t if they were on the same court.
Does that sound fair?
The media isn’t helping either. They question and criticize the NBA without clarifying that Morey was on a business trip. Who goes on a business trip to lose money? Yes, our values are important to us, but billions of dollars are more important. Has anyone asked if Morey was educated on how to be culturally sensitive to China’s ideals? But, if we are being fair, did he really need schooling, everyone in business knows if you do business with China, you tread lightly and must be willing to make compromises. Just ask Google, Apple, Blizzard and a list of other business who have folded to the will of China for economic gain.
As the media eats all this up, please understand the angle. Understand the objective. The objective is to mute the employees of the NBA once they return from abroad. How is this done? Anger the citizens of America. Give them a justified expectation and sit back and see how the NBA responds. It’s a win, win for politicians because China will either lose out on basketball and the NBA loses money for practicing freedom of speech or the NBA will forever be questioned whenever they address social issues within America’s borders.
How does the NBA lose?
Imagine when the next mass shooting occurs, or a citizen is illegally killed by law enforcement or our justice system doesn’t provide justice. How will you respond to the words and actions of NBA employees when they speak out after they return from China? Will you take their words as seriously? Will their words hold as much weight? Will you question their actions? Will you view their responses as being selfish instead of being patriotic? Will you think, why should I listen since you were silent in China and I expected more from you? If you are already feeling like this, the plan is working. For others, just wait and see how you feel when politicians and the media respond to an NBA employee when they respond to a major political event.
Why did politicians empower the NBA politically? They empowered the NBA to politically respond because they knew the NBA had the power to challenge not only China but the United States inequitable systems. The NBA would either embrace this power or choose the money. The eight politicians chose a dangerous game to play, but who chooses the rights of the few over billions? Sounds bad I know, but it’s not only the truth, it’s capitalism and our country was founded on it.
As citizens of America, let’s not get caught up in how the NBA responds and acts in a foreign country. The NBA and its employees are all on a business trip. They are not visiting China to spread democratic ideals and practice freedom of speech. They are in China to make money. If the objective to visit China was to spread democracy, then the NBA would’ve responded differently.
No one speaks out if they are not passionate about their beliefs and are willing to accept the consequences that come with it. We all choose to decide what we are willing to fight for or when we will stand on the sidelines. The NBA wasn’t passionate about speaking out against the Chinese government. Does that make anyone in the NBA less American or patriotic? No, it doesn’t. It just reinforces individuals and businesses have different values they hold sacred. If anyone feels so passionate against what China is not allowing, go to China and protest. Find ways to help Hong Kong fight for their independence, but if not, don’t question the NBA when they’ve decided not to take on a responsibility that comes with consequences that most aren’t willing to accept.
Remember from this point on, whenever an athlete speaks out, let’s not question why they are speaking out, let’s remember what the letter of the eight politicians said, “the NBA represents a unique brand for which there is no competition, inside or outside of China. You have the power to take a stand…and you should have the courage and integrity to use it.” Just because the NBA valued their partnership with China over Morey’s tweet does not mean players should be expected to stay quiet after they’ve returned home. According to eight politicians, it’s the player’s responsibility to not stay silent and to use their platform to support democracy and fight inequities.
So, the next time an NBA employee decides to speak out on social issues, don’t question, why are they speaking now, and stayed quiet in China. Admire their courage. The fact that they are speaking out lets you know the problem has moved them to speak passionately about it and they understand the consequences that may follow. So, listen…listen because they are practicing a right that isn’t afforded to the citizens of China and other citizens throughout the world. Most importantly, listen if you normally wouldn’t have listened because Congress has empowered all athletes (not that they needed empowering) and anyone with a platform to speak out against unjust practices whether it is occurring inside or outside of China.
Feel free to share your thoughts below. I would know what you are thinking.