The NBA received a fair share of criticism for its business relationship with China and refusal to condemn human rights violations therein. While the league, through its stars, is very actively taking stances on social and political issues in the United States, the attitude towards one of the NBA’s biggest markets, which is estimated to be worth around $5 billion, is different.
Last season, former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had to backtrack his comments supporting Hong Kong protests in the wake of harsh reaction from China. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said Morey ‘was not educated’ on the issue before making comments. After Morey left Houston, China’s state television CCTV implied it was due to his comments.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, also refused to call out China for the human rights violations, such as reported genocide of Uighur muslims as disclosed by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Senator Josh Hawley joined sports analyst Clay Travis for a conversation that also revolved around the NBA. The politician called out the NBA for not refusing to be slave-free and not condemning the genocide in China.
“The NBA situation is really problematic,” Hawley begins. “We’ve seen reports that a lot of the NBA apparel is made by slave labor. If the NBA wants to be the corporate citizens they say they are, they need to step up.
“I’m not asking the NBA to comment on social issues, they profit off this stuff. They ought to stand up and be slave-free. They should say, ‘We are going to be slave-free, and we condemn the genocide.’ So far, it has been crickets, and that is pretty disappointing.”