Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Laura Ingraham, along with guest Clay Travis, double-teamed the super-woke and sanctimonious National Basketball Association and the sneaker giant Nike for caving to the communist dictatorship in China while at the same time lecturing America about its shortcomings.
China is “buying the silence” of sports leagues and apparel companies while teams describe America as “rotten and racist,” Ingraham asserted on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle.
Noting that Nike pulled Washington Redskins merchandise from its online store because the team name is offensive, Ingraham asserted that “fighting injustice and racism is important to Nike…until, of course, the racism and real atrocities are committed by the Chinese government.”
In the epitome of situational ethics, Nike, which is in a deep co-venture with the NBA and China, won’t challenge the ruling CCP because Nike reportedly raked in about $6 billion in revenue in 2019 from that country.
Ingraham quoted the corporation’s CEO as stating that Nike “is a brand of China, for China.”
Ingraham also recalled how the Houston Rocket’s general manager became a pariah in the league for a simple tweet supporting Hong Kong democracy because it jeopardized its Beijing-facilitated cash flow.
The Hong Kong issue is particularly relevant in that hypocritical NBA luminaries such as superstar LeBron James and coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, as alluded to below, have consistently called out America generally for its shortcomings and President Trump personally for his, but have clammed up about China’s human rights abuses and the CCP’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
In what might be an intended or unintended reference to Popovich, Ingraham asserted that “Next time your favorite league or wokest brand decides to pop off about Trump, say he doesn’t care about people, or demand obedience to BLM, think about the atrocities they willfully ignore in favor of the all-mighty dollar.”
Back in January 2018, LeBron James even tweeted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Laura Ingraham made specific mention of China’s persecution of its Muslim population and also for Commissioner Adam Silver’s apparent spinelessness given China’s human rights violations.
Ingraham then asked Fox Sports host and Outkick founder Clay Travis about “how did we get to a point where some of these iconic, storied sports brands and leagues consider Chinese interests ahead of American interests?”
Travis responded the NBA has lost its way because of its economic dependence on China.
“It’s because we’ve allowed the NBA to be run in a despicable way…The NBA…is going to allow players to make social justice statements instead of their names on the back of their jerseys. They’re not gonna allow anybody to say ‘Free Hong Kong,’ because if that happened, they would actually have to acknowledge that they are doing the bidding of the Chinese government.
“In tearing down American institutions, sports leagues are working in favor of China. They’re producing propaganda that their totalitarian government uses against us even while [China] has concentration camps.
(Source: Fox News)
“It drives me crazy that all of these athletes, the LeBron James’, these coaches like Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich – they all run around ripping Donald Trump and ripping the United States. when really, if they really wanted to stand up to anybody, they should stand up to Nike and say ‘hey, why don’t you make your own shoes in this country that you’re asking people to pay $200 to put on their kids’ feet. Why don’t you allow us to actually criticize, in a good way, in a legitimate way, what is a new cold war between America and China?'”
“The sports leagues all too often, particularly the NBA… they are tearing down American institutions and values in favor of a Chinese authoritarian government. It’s despicable, it’s disgraceful, and needs to be called out.”
In the context of LeBron James retweeting Colin Kaepernick’s widely circulated anti-July 4 tweet, Ingraham deemed the hypocrisy “astounding.”
Previously describing himself as a radical moderate who voted for Obama and worked for Al Gore back in the day, Travis added that “real American sports fans have to say no. They have to hold China accountable and the leagues and players as well.”
The NBA is due to restart its season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., on July 31 provided that the number of COVID-positive players remains reasonable (and likely asymptomatic after they quarantine for 14 days). Unfortunately, the NBA appears to be suffering from a China virus of another kind, a political virus.
You may recall when Ingraham prompted a firestorm in 2018 when she advised Trump-bashing NBA players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant to instead shut up and dribble (which was a callback to her book about the liberal entertainment industry called Shut Up and Sing).
Millionaire players in the NBA (and the NFL who intend to kneel during the National Anthem) who have richly benefited from the American Dream have sincerely held beliefs about inequality. Freedom of speech also means, however, that they are subject to criticism from those who disagree with those views.
Moreover, the question is whether it is more appropriate to pursue activism on their own time rather than during work hours when, like virtually all employees, they are usually subject to certain employer policies and restrictions on what can say or do.
There is no freedom of speech, per se, in the private-sector workplace. Moreover, there are alternatives. Based on their celebrity status, players have a lot of influence on social media and plenty of access to conventional media to promote their activism when they aren’t on the court or in the field.
As it is, ratings for the almost-meaningless NBA regular season have been trending downward in recent years.
Accordingly, the politicization of sports means, and history has shown, that, in general, increasing numbers of viewers are going to tune out.
ESPN, for example, has also lost a massive amount of viewership through a combination of cord-cutting, no games or game highlights to show, and that in the last few months, it has become in much of its programming a left-wing social justice megaphone.
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