Criticism of the Chinese government is forbidden — I don’t mean in China, I mean de facto in the United States for anyone who is part of any institution that has any investment in China. The sports league that prides itself on freedom of expression and social relevance — one so politically correct that it banned the word “owner” because the term allegedly evokes slavery — has no one willing to say Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is right and that people around the world should, as he tweeted, “fight for Freedom” and “stand with Hong Kong.” As of this writing, not a single player, not a single coach, not a single owner has spoken out in support of Morey. You couldn’t get all those guys to agree on any topic in domestic American politics. But for the first forty-eight hours of this controversy, the opinion of everyone associated with the NBA was uniform. Our relationship with China has not made them more like us. It has made us more like them.
Think about it: we have no shortage of professional athletes who are willing to publicly denounce American cops who they deem abusive and brutal. But everybody’s looking at their shoes as the cops in Hong Kong beat the hell out of anybody in a mask and shoot people at point-blank range.
And it’s not just the NBA kowtowing to China: “Video game company Blizzard Entertainment became the latest American company to bow to pressure from the Chinese government, when it banned professional gamer Ng ‘blitzchung’ Wai Chung from competitive Hearthstone events for 12 months and deleted comments he made supporting the Hong Kong protests from its video-on-demand replay of a postgame interview. Blizzard, based in Irvine, California, is perhaps best known in the United States for producing the Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft franchises, which were originally released in the 1990s and have all had wildly successful sequels. The video game company also was responsible for producing World of Warcraft, which is one of the most popular video games of all time.”