Day after day, you’ve doubtless heard stories about the in-your-face activism by U.S. professional sports teams and their multi-million dollar, celebrity players. After the police-involved death of George Floyd, it seems like it’s been a non-stop barrage of social justice-this, oppressed-that, and privileged, elite athletes spouting obvious nonsense like, “I can’t walk outside my door without worrying about being shot.”
One of the toughest things to stomach in all this has been the hypocrisy of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and those whom it employs when it comes to the Communist Chinese. RedState has covered this extensively, starting back in the summer, when one of its coaches defended China’s strong-arm tactics. I shared, too, about the possibly nefarious, business relationship between CCP slave labor of the Uighur Muslims and others unjustly imprisoned by China’s regime and multinational companies that work with the NBA, like Nike. Our own Brandon Morse also gave a wider perspective on the lasting damage the NBA causes with what it considers a noble cause in Black Lives Matter. He wrote that this activism on the hardwood ends up dividing instead of uniting people, as sports (and maybe music and films) are uniquely able to.
In September, my colleague Alex Parker reported on an example of that in real time, in a piece about SME Steel, a Utah company that decided to hand back its luxury suite at the Utah Jazz home court instead of being bombarded with BLM propaganda.
Then on Thursday, Ed Morrissey from our sister site Hot Air wrote a compelling article for VIP subscribers on the way CCP-friendly publications like the New York Times have their own hypocrisy problem; the Gray Lady made one of its opinion editors crawl away in disgrace because he published an op-ed by (gasp!) a conservative Republican, U.S. senator; yet, the Times apparently has no problem with printing blatant, Chinese propaganda on why they have to crack down on the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
This is the media atmosphere we’re surrounded by — and it’s no different for the NBA players themselves. But that may be changing. And check out the irony of which team the newly-outspoken player is from, considering the recent move by SME Steel.
Sports news outlet Outkick reports that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz has become the first NBA player to publicly criticize the CCP for its ghastly treatment of the Uighur minority group.
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) December 20, 2019
Writer Ryan Glasspiegel explained what made Gobert’s social media share on Thursday so remarkable.
He wrote, in part:
Rudy Gobert, the center for the Utah Jazz, posted what initially appeared to be a cryptic message on his Instagram stories today, a blue background with the wording “Wrong is wrong.”
When you click through on the see post button while looking at the story on Instagram, it takes you to French actor Omar Sy’s page and an entry about Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps in China.
Millions of Uyghur Muslims are detained and tortured in concentration camps in China.
Not for what they do, but for who they are.
It is the largest mass incarceration of the 21st century. It has to end. #FreeUyghurs
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Please repost & share 🙏🏿 Des millions de musulmans Ouïghours sont enfermés et torturés dans des camps de concentration en Chine. Non pour ce qu’ils font, mais pour ce qu’ils sont. C’est le plus grand internement de masse du XXIe siècle. Il faut y mettre fin. #FreeUyghurs *** Millions of Uyghur Muslims are detained and tortured in concentration camps in China. Not for what they do, but for who they are. It is the largest mass incarceration of the 21st century. It has to end. #FreeUyghurs
Glasspiegel also notes that another player, Kyrie Irving, “expressed private concerns about China and human rights to NBA commissioner Adam Silver last October.” But that happened behind closed doors, not in a public, social media post. Of course, even Gobert’s statement didn’t come from behind a press conference microphone, surrounded by a gaggle of media. But, considering no one else in the NBA dares speak out — they’ve seen the consequences meted out to Rockets GM Daryl Morey — it’s a good start.