The NBA-China Controversy
Whenever it comes to political views or social justice, I see no problem when professional athletes or others choose to take a stand.
Countless times, when athletes speaks their mind, they are usually told to stay out of it, leave it alone. They are told they do not comprehend anything outside of their respective sports.
Athletes are told shut up and dribble, just run the bases, stick to kicking ball . It doesn't end at vocalizing your beliefs, even a tweet can land an organization in hot water.
"Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong."
How can one simple tweet cause so much controversy within a matter of second? Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey quickly found out.
The tweet is a reference to the protest taking place in Hong Kong regarding extradition laws to the mainland, among many on-going issues in the region. This is a territory that has it's own laws, rules and government.
The protest started out peacefully but soon escalated into violence on both sides. The riots have seen pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and even Molotov cocktails utilized.
Now why did the become so controversial? Perhaps, the well documented business relationship between the Rockets organization, the league and China.
This is the same franchise that in 2002 drafted Chinese superstar, Yao Ming. This allowed a new opportunity for the league to reach spectators world wide. Since the, the National Basketball Association and China have formed a multii-billion dollar relationship.
When Lebron James usually tweets his support for social justice, as stated earlier, I have no issues with this. But when he says Morey was 'uneducated' and 'misinformed' on the subject, how can that be?
James disagreed with Morey's initial tweet, citing the poor timing given the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets were scheduled for a pre-season game in the nation. To me, it looks like his business ventures held the most weight in James statement. Following backlash for his comments James has decided to not discuss the issue further.
According to reports, shoe sales in China have double within the last five years. James, currently has a lifetimes contract with Nike and has made countless trips to China due to the partnership between Nike and the NBA.
James comes off hypocritical, as someone that does not value human rights or freedom of speech abroad. He has stated that he does not think every issue should be everybody's problem. Next time an issue of social justice occurs in the United States, James may be best inclined to keep it to himself.
Tweeting and supporting other is okay but when it comes to a country, sponsor that your employer is in a relationship with. Athletes may tend to be encouraged to avoid these topics because it's not their place.
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