Once NBA Commissioner Nate Silver learned of his league’s designation — as the “most ‘woke’ (alert to social injustice, especially racism) organization in the professional ranks, he decided he was “proud” of that distinction.
Apparently, the NBA’s “wokey-ness” does not extend to Hong Kong’s fight for freedom from China. Even though the Chinese present the most dangerous geopolitical threat to our freedom, nary a word can be uttered against China by anyone in the long-shorts league. Houston Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey found that out the hard way last week.
On Friday, Mr. Morey tapped out a tweet backing the movement in Hong Kong, stating “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” You would think such a “woke” outfit — e.g. it removed the NBA All-Star game from Charlotte after a referendum in which the North Carolina populace voted against transgender bathrooms — would view human rights and freedom of conscience as paramount, core values as it were.
But not when a comment might disturb the bottom line. The NBA is big in China, or at least it wants to be. Thus, Mr. Morey had to be stifled for exercising his freedom of conscience, or expression.
The response was swift. The tweet was taken down, but not before it made a few rounds in China. So Mr. Silver deemed it necessary to put out any possible fires quickly. The league issued a statement, obsequious to the core, saying, “We are extremely disappointed in the inappropriate comment by the general manager of the Houston Rockets,” it said. Mr. Morey “undoubtedly seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese basketball fans.”
By then, sensing the proverbial “weak horse,” the Chinese Basketball Association severed its relationship with the Rockets. It was an easy decision to make after Houston owner Tilman Fertitta threw Mr, Morey under the bus, as did Rockets’ star James Harden.
Mr. Silver calls this “basketball diplomacy.” Sounds like he and his well-paid charges need a lesson in the Bill of Rights — as well as a “come-to-Jesus” meeting about defending Americans before kowtowing to what essentially is an enemy.