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MichMan

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Member since: Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:44 PM
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Mitch Albom: Price for the NBA in China? Its soul


"It was a short tweet. Only seven words. But it ripped the façade off of two giant forces, the Chinese government and the National Basketball Association, and exposed their hypocrisies in a sobering light. If you’ve ever doubted the power of free speech, and the perils of silence, you need only to have watched the events of last week.

“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Those were the seven words, tweeted out by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, a man who, when it comes to famous names in the NBA, is on the same level as the team trainer. He’s not a player. He’s not recognizable. He deleted the tweet shortly after he posted it.

But that didn’t stop China, the most populous nation on the planet, from going berserk. The government-owned TV network canceled televising the NBA exhibition games being played there. The internet streaming was canceled as well. The Chinese Basketball Association suspended all association with the Houston Rockets. And China’s consul general in Houston demanded the team “immediately correct the mistakes.”


Billions of dollars, and 1.4 billion people. It is a marketplace that has made many an American CEO dizzy with greed, seeing all those potential customers just waiting to be served. The NBA is no different than other U.S. businesses that have raced in to capitalize on the Chinese marketplace. Never mind that China’s government is so antithetical to American ideas, it ought to give them pause. Forget it. There’s so much money to be made! They’re like drillers in a massive oil field, giddy in their digging.

But as we saw last week, there’s more than dollars at the bottom of those holes. There’s principle. Let’s remember what this NBA incident is all about. Morey’s tweet wasn’t some radical far-left or far-right statement. He mentioned “freedom” — the defining word for America — and Hong Kong, which has been under the heel of China, the Brits, then China again, and is now fighting a law that would have “dissidents” (meaning those who don’t agree with China’s iron-first government) extradited from Hong Kong to face justice in mainland China.

Which begs another question:
What will LeBron James have to say about this?

James is arguably Nike’s biggest star. He has been outspoken in supporting athletes kneeling during the national anthem, which he defends as free speech, outspoken on American police abusing power, outspoken on minorities being marginalized by government forces.

Well? How does all that not apply to those protesting in Hong Kong? You can flip to any number of videos right now and see them beaten, hosed, tear-gassed. "


[link:http://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2019/10/13/mitch-albom-nba-china-houston-rockets/3959602002/|
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