Nike, which lionized Colin Kaepernick as free-speech icon, silent about China’s NBA censorship

nike china censorship nba lebron james colin kaepernick
Nike, the self-proclaimed free-speech champions who backed Colin Kaepernick when he protested the national anthem, has been curiously silent in the face of China’s censorship of NBA officials. (screenshots/Nike, Barstool Sports)

Nike has been curiously silent in response to China’s censorship of the NBA. That’s a stark contrast to when the self-proclaimed free-speech advocates sided with kneeling NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he protested the national anthem.

Last year, Nike lionized Kaepernick as a hero with its “Believe in something” ad campaign to support Kap’s protest of the American flag.

However, Nike’s silence in the face of communist China’s attempts to censor NBA officials who support the pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters is deafening.

All this underscores that athletic brands like Nike love to virtue-signal and make empty gestures to pander to left-wing consumers. But when real courage is needed, they fold like a deck of cards.

Nike China sales 2019 revenue
In 2019, Nike posted $6 billion in revenue from China. (Source: Statista)

Last week, Nike stores in China pulled Houston Rockets merchandise amid the regime’s fury over a tweet posted by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Under pressure from the Chinese government, Morey apologized profusely. The NBA then followed up with its own groveling apology to China. Keep in mind that most people in China never saw Morey’s tweet because Twitter is banned in China.

Rather than back the NBA, Nike hasn’t said a word about the censorship for fear of hurting sales in the massive Chinese consumer market. Nike scored revenues of $6.2 billion in China during fiscal year 2019.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio observed: “As China strong arms the NBA into silence, still waiting for Nike and their stable of “woke” social justice warrior/athletes to speak out.”

Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk asked: “Does anyone remember Nike’s ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick? The slogan was ‘believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.’ So why are they kowtowing to the Communist Party of China right now? Is that what they believe in?”

One athlete tweeted: “Money over morals…Nike owns the NBA and China owns Nike!”

Nike isn’t the only entity that has spotlighted its hypocrisy amid this stunning scandal.

As BizPac Review reported, NBA superstar LeBron James sided with communist China over Daryl Morey by saying Morey shouldn’t have tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protesters.

James explained that Morey “was not educated” about the situation, and therefore should have kept his mouth shut. Keep in mind that the Hong Kong activists are protesting FOR democracy and for free speech.

The youth in Hong Kong reacted by burning LeBron James jerseys in the streets.


(Source: Tucker Carlson Tonight)

China gloated about the NBA’s cowardly submission with a smackdown in China Daily:

“Let’s hope the incident with Morey and the Houston Rockets will teach other companies a lesson. The big Chinese market is open to the world, but those who challenge China’s core interests and hurt Chinese people’s feelings cannot make any profit from it.”

Fox Business host Charles Payne called Nike’s response to the controversy “absolutely disgraceful.” Payne added: “Maybe the NBA could grow a spine.”

Shaquille O’Neal boldly defends free speech after NBA and LeBron James cower to China

Samantha Chang

Senior Staff Writer
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Samantha Chang is a senior staff writer for BizPac Review. Based in New York City, she is a law school graduate and a longtime financial editor.
Samantha Chang

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