NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal defended free speech just days after the NBA and superstar LeBron James capitulated to China’s demands for censorship.
Specifically, Shaq said Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey “was right” to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong — even if it meant angering Chinese NBA sponsors.
“As American people, we do a lot of business in China,” O’Neal said yesterday (Oct. 22) on TNT during the kickoff of the 2019-2020 NBA season. “They know and understand our values, and we understand their values. One of our best values in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want and we’re allowed to speak up on injustices.”
Shaq continued: “Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something going on wrong anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, ‘That’s not right.’ And that’s what he did.”
(Source: Jorge Alonso/Twitter)
O’Neal acknowledged that sometimes you have to be diplomatic when criticizing people you do business with — but that doesn’t mean cowering to censorship.
Shaq explained: “Sometimes you have to tiptoe around things [but] we have the right to speak. Especially with social media. We can say whatever we want to say when we want to say it.”
Flashback: In 2015, Shaquille O’Neal boldly declared that “Donald Trump is a friend of mine.” This was at a time when the media and other celebrities were viciously attacking Trump as a racist.
Then, as now, Shaq is not afraid to speak his mind — even if it goes against the left-wing echo media chamber.
As BizPac Review reported, the NBA-China brouhaha erupted two weeks ago, when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted: “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.”
The Chinese government was furious over the innocuous tweet, so Chinese businesses began pulling their NBA sponsorships. Chinese broadcasters and streaming platforms also threatened to stop airing NBA games.
The NBA responded by issued a groveling apology to China. NBA stars have since refused to condemn China’s brutal regime for fear of losing more sponsorships.
Last week, LeBron James was widely slammed when he appeared to side with China‘s oppressive communist regime by suggesting that Daryl Morey should have kept his mouth shut.
Notably, LeBron said Morey was “not educated on the situation” before tweeting his support for the Hong Kong protesters.
Keep in mind that the Hong Kong protesters are fighting for:
- Free speech
These are longstanding, cherished American values. Besides, Twitter is banned in China, so it’s unlikely that most people in the country saw Morey’s tweet anyway.
LeBron James called NBA exec Daryl Morey "uneducated" for supporting the Hong Kong activists, who are protesting China's censorship & oppressive communist regime.
Twitter is banned in China, so it’s unlikely that most ppl in China saw Morey’s tweet.https://t.co/8RGIiSIAEX
— Samantha Chang (@samantha_chang) October 15, 2019
The irony of LeBron James siding with an oppressive, authoritarian regime is laughable since he trashed President Trump as authoritarian and called his supporters uneducated.
Similarly, Nike — which championed kneeling quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a hero for criticizing the United States and Trump — was curiously silent in response to China’s brutal censorship of the NBA.
All this underscores that hypocrites like Nike love to make empty gestures to pander to left-wing consumers. But when real courage is needed, they fold like a deck of cards.
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