Warriors owner says he "doesn't care about the Uyghurs" in China
For those of us with ethics, sports organizations like the NBA have taken a real turn for the worse in the past few years. For me it started with their massive and condescending campaign for Black Lives Matter and got even worse as the organization and its players started becoming more and more political.
As vocal as they have been about certain societal issues they have been under some pressure about how they are very willing to be outspoken about some groups rights, but will not touch actual human-rights violations that is well-documented such as the horrible treatment of the Uyghurs in China.
How about putting that on every basketball court?
It is pretty obvious why the NBA will not ever be critical of China or anything they do, regardless of how heinous it is and that reason is money. There are a lot of NBA fans in China as the sport is quite popular there. China has a very consistent track record of simply disallowing anything in their country that is critical of the government and the NBA really goes out of their way to ensure that nothing is said about China at all in their broadcasts. Every now and then a fan will be able to quickly display a sign or shirt that is critical of China, but the cameras quickly cut away from them.
When some sign-bearing fans started a "Free Hong Kong" chant at a 76ers exhibition game against a Chinese team, the fans were ejected from the arena.
The latest news about the NBA being very pro-whatever-China-wants-to-do came to an apex during an interview with Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya who didn't mince words when asked about the Uyghurs. These are his EXACT words.
“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? You bring it up because you really care and I think that’s nice that you care, the rest of us don’t care.”
He later went on to say
"I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it [the treatment and genocide of the Uyghurs] is below my line"
While it is no secret that the NBA will do everything it can to avoid insulting China, this is the first time that anyone inside of the organization has been so direct about it.
Palihapitiya later tried to do some damage control by claiming that what he actually meant was that "we should clean up our own house before we get involved in other countries." Take that as you will but to me this sounds like he was deflecting and was suggesting that we have racial issues to address in the United States and until we can take care of those, we shouldn't get involved in other countries' human-rights violations. Basically it is all a crock of shit.
Honestly, this guy didn't do himself any favors by saying anything at all and his "walkback" on his comments isn't convincing anyone. The NBA will likely just remain silent about this as they tend to with all things China related, and it was really stupid for the Warriors' owner to talk about it, let alone say the he's OK with it.
It brings to mind back a few years ago in 2014 when L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape saying something racist about black players and there was a massive outrage that eventually resulted in him being kind of forced to sell the team. Yet we probably aren't going to see a great deal of pushback on Chamath Palihapitiya.
There are already a ton of people in the USA that boycott the NBA because of their behavior over the past years and I am on the fence about whether or not I will join them. I really like the sport and hate to see it come to this point. At the end of the day all of these owners probably only really care about one thing: Enriching themselves. I suppose we shouldn't be all that surprised that one owner accidentally showed what is probably a shared belief among all team owners.