President Donald Trump is now offering his opinion on the controversy surrounding the NBA and China. And he has a few things to say about the NBA coaches who are reluctant to criticize China.
The NBA, along with other American entities, has been kowtowing to China, shutting down speech that might be critical of China in relation to the protests for freedom in Hong Kong.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey kicked off the media attention to the problem when he tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters and was then dunked on by the NBA.
After the Chinese expressed their displeasure at Morey’s comments, the NBA apologized for having “offended” the Chinese and Morey was forced to apologize.
After getting a lot of blowback from Americans for that posture, Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner tried to clean it up with later statements, but it didn’t seem to quell the storm.
Asked about the controversy on Monday, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who’s freely offered his liberal opinion in the past attacking Trump for not showing “leadership,” refused to weigh in. “It’s a really bizarre story,” Kerr said. “A lot of us don’t know what to make of it. I’m not going to comment further.”
Steve Kerr has no comment on NBA’s China issues. He comments on every Trump tweet and can’t support democracy in China? What a complete and total coward. pic.twitter.com/Fr4FJIaOW0
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 8, 2019
Really? Likely the Hong Kongers, Uighurs, and other people being abused by China could enlighten you.
The San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, also refused to condemn China but defended Silver’s response saying he, Silver, stood up for “freedom of speech.” Then Popovich used the media attention to go after Trump.
From Daily Wire:
“[Silver has] been a heck of a leader in that respect and very courageous,” he said. “Then you compare it to what we’ve had to live through the past three years, it’s a big difference. A big gap there, leadership-wise and courage-wise. It wasn’t easy for him to say. He said that in an environment fraught with possible economic peril. But he sided with the principles that we all hold dearly, or most of us did until the last three years. I’m thrilled with what he said. The courage and leadership displayed is off the charts by comparison.”
Trump responded when media asked him about the controversy.
President Trump criticizes Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich — both vocal critics of Trump — when asked about China putting pressure on the NBA: "They talk badly about the United States, but when it talks about China, they don't want to say anything bad" https://t.co/rR2dKOelYD pic.twitter.com/am9hMQcGG3
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 9, 2019
“I watch this guy Steve Kerr and he was like a little boy, he was so scared to be answering the question. He wouldn’t even answer the question — he was shaking, ‘Oh, oh, oh, I don’t know. I don’t know.’”
“He didn’t know how to answer the question, and yet he’ll talk about the United States very badly,” Trump added. As for Popovich, Trump said, “sort of the same thing, but he didn’t look quite as scared actually.”
Overall, he said, “they talk badly about the United States, but when [they talk] about China, they don’t want to say anything bad.”
“I watch the way that Kerr and Popovich and some of the others were pandering to China, and yet to our own country, it’s like they don’t respect it. It’s like they don’t respect it,” Trump concluded. “I said, ‘What a difference — isn’t it sad?’ It’s very sad. To me, it’s very sad.”
Good for Trump.
Yes, the NBA can lose money if they offend China. But they can lose a lot more if they offend Americans and American values. And in the question of “Is it better to be right or to sell out?” it’s better to be right.