NBA Hands Out China-Approved Messaging
NBA Hands Out China-Approved Messaging
July 4, 2020
Apparently the NBA read their Twitter feed, and then started shaking in their Chinese-sweatshop-made Nikes.
We all knew something like this was coming. With the announcement that the NBA would allow for “social messaging” on their jerseys during their resumed season. While we all speculated about which player would be brave enough to slap “FREE HONG KONG” on their jersey, the NBA was apparently thinking about that as well. Commissioner Adam Silver, who looks like a rejected cousin from the Addams Family, made a chilling and horrific statement about China when the news of their forced abortions and attempts at population control of the Uighur people broke in Western media this week. You see, China just has a different view of how things are, and we need to respect that!
“We’ve continued a dialogue with the Chinese, with our business partners there. In certain cases, with certain government officials,” Silver told Time on Tuesday. The commissioner said he felt the NBA’s relationship with China had improved since the Hong Kong row.”
“As I’ve said before…we come to China with a certain set of core American values and principles,” Silver continued. “They have a different view of how things have been done, how things should be done. And hopefully, we can find mutual respect for each other.”
Forced abortions and forced birth control? Concentration camps? A hostile takeover of Hong Kong? That’s just a “different view” of things, and we just have to “find mutual respect” for China.
What. The. Hell.
With that grotesque interview in mind, is it any wonder that this news was released on Friday, while most people were focusing on their three-day weekend for Independence Day? You see, there is no freedom of expression for NBA players. There is only the messaging that will please the Chinese overlords. After all, we can’t draw attention to their problems, only American ones.
Congrats to everyone who bravely displays an NBA Approved message on the back of their jersey this season, such as "Group Economics" pic.twitter.com/yIB2igoyae
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) July 4, 2020
While this list does make a statement, it makes it in the most bland and apathetic way possible. And to further demonstrate that the NBA is only paying lip service to their social justic messaging stunt, this is only going to be a limited time deal.
The messages will be displayed above the number during the first four days of the season restart, a source told The Undefeated. Players can have a first and second choice, but they do not have to use the space for a social message, the source said. If they do not, the player’s last name would appear in that space.”
After the first four nights, a player can simply go back to their last name. If they choose to continue showing a social message, their name would go below the number.”
And why no actual names on jerseys, like George Floyd or Breonna Taylor?
Earlier this week, a source told The Undefeated that players decided not to use the names of those who have died in police custody or in racially motivated incidents on the backs of their jerseys. There were concerns about offending people close to someone whose name might not be used, and over difficulties gaining permission from surviving family members.”
So, “say their names,” but we mean you, not us. We can’t offend anyone by omission, or spend time getting permission. We want to pose, not advocate, for just a few nights, which means that there can be no social media pressure brought to bear on big names to wear a different message. It’s unlikely that anyone will continue this particular jersey stunt after those first four nights – after all, they want to SELL jerseys with their name on them – but how much do you want to bet that the NBA will be happy to sell these social justice jerseys, made in China, to NBA fans?
And the NBA is speculating if they can get some fans back in the stands this season. It’s always about the money, and Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee would like an accounting of the NBA’s relationship with China. I would love to see Adam Silver in front of a Senate committee, having to explain himself about China’s “different views” and finding “mutual respect” for a Communist regime, and having to detail his own craven cowardice that demands silence when it comes to Chinese human rights abuses, but allows for slapping trite messaging on the backs of players’ jerseys. Now THAT would be TV that would be worth watching, not these restarted NBA games.
With no fans in person for these social justice jersey games, the only power we have left is the remote control button. If you want to send a message, don’t watch the first four nights. Ratings equal dollars, and money talking is the only listening that the NBA is willing to do these days. The reaction of the fans will determine if this kind of political stunt gets revived in the future. Imagine if fans didn’t watch those first four games, and instead flooded social media with their own photoshopped jerseys. Mockery plus loss of ratings would be a powerful message, and the NBA would be forced to listen. After all, I don’t think they have enough Chinese fans to make up for the loss of American ones.
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