12up Logo12up Logo

NBA's China Stance Proves it's as Hypocritical as the NFL

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 13: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey listens as Dwight Howard is officially introduced as a Houston Rocket during a press conference on July 13, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey probably didn't imagine this outcome when he tweeted out support for democracy in Hong Kong, but nonetheless, here we are.

Morey has deleted the tweet and apologized for being so quick to comment, but the bigger story here is the NBA's position in all of this. In an effort to preserve the business opportunities and the league's popularity in China, the NBA has stayed quiet about the repressiveness of the country's authoritarian regime-- effectively making them complicit in the anti-democratic efforts in Hong Kong Morey spoke out against.

This is the same NBA that moved the All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans in an effort to support the transgender community and fight the "bathroom bill" that North Carolina had put in place. The same NBA that backs LeBron James up 110% when he speaks out on social issues across the country.

But when it comes to the Chinese market, they need to make sure their pockets are filled and that the relationship stays intact, even if that means utterly refusing to criticize a communist dictatorship with a long history of human rights violations. It doesn't matter that the Rockets or NBA aren't going to discipline Morey (despite the Chinese Basketball Association's pressure to do so). The fact that the NBA isn't fully behind Morey in supporting the cause of democracy in an authoritarian state is disturbing enough on its own.

The NBA is often praised in comparison to the NFL for making social strides and being a better-run organization in terms of player empowerment and general transparency, but to put it simply: this is a bad look.

Fighting for equality and human rights doesn't stop when you extend past your own country's borders. The "socially conscious" NBA is prioritizing dollar signs over those fighting for change in Hong Kong, and that's hypocrisy no matter how you slice it.