BRETT: It’s an incredible thing to watch what’s played out just in the world of sports in the last four or five years, obviously starting with the controversy surrounding the taking of the knee by Colin Kaepernick. You watched rank hypocrisy as the NBA found itself front and center in the midst of controversy involving the support of Hong Kong protesters and the desire by the NBA to cozy up to communist China.
We’ve even just watched, obviously, what’s happened with Rob Manfred pulling the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. There are stories aplenty to go around in this regard. I want to stay with the NBA component, though, if we can. Because I’m old enough to remember 2019, when there was quite the back-and-forth on whether or not you were going to see truth being spoken to power by the super-woke league of the NBA.
LeBron James, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Adam Silver (the commissioner of that association) being honest about the human rights violations in China that were going on. In Hong Kong, obviously going on as well own in Xinjiang in the western part of China where the Uyghur population has been abused and oppressed.
Well, the NBA — that same NBA — “is holding talks with China Central Television about airing its upcoming season, raising concerns about,” this from Nicholas Sherman at Just the News, “the U.S.-based pro basketball league negotiating with the Chinese Communist Party’s state-controlled broadcaster. ‘NBA is attempting to cut a deal to air games on the same station that regularly broadcasts communist propaganda.’”
That’s what the channel does. That’s according to Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn talking to the Washington Free Beacon. The NBA in recent years has obviously attempted to expand into China. The Chinese market represents a massive opportunity for them. The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, comes out and says, “Our business is continuing there. We have hundreds of millions of fans in China, and we see it as our business to serve those fans” in China.
But to do that, you need to go through the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers are the CCTV operators, the communist China TV operators. I know they’ll call it Central China Television. But nonetheless, the argument is still the same. So look. To the NBA there’s nothing wrong and everything right about being on China Central Television.
In fact, I wouldn’t put it past the NBA to have four teams travel to China to play in an NBA game there in the next year or two. The NBA’s trying to cut that deal, trying to make sure this will happen. Well, Rush was abundantly clear in an incredible teachable moment warning of the dangers of the NBA suck-up to the ChiComs.
RUSH: I’ll tell you what this Chinese stuff is, folks. Let me tell you, this Chinese stuff is a teachable moment for a lot of reasons.
You know, Millennials today are big into socialism. They think it’s wonderful and great. Well, here it is on display. Not only socialism, but raw communism on display by the ChiComs. You cannot dissent. You have no civil liberties. You have no opinion. You’re not allowed.
This is such a teachable moment what is happening here, and it’s gotten so obfuscated. Let’s start at the beginning on this. I want to make an observation before starting at the beginning. The beginning is the tweet that the general manager of the Houston Rockets sent out (chuckles), which was a totally harmless tweet showing support for freedom-loving people in Hong Kong pursuing freedom and democracy.
And for that, he was shellacked by the ChiComs. The ChiComs then threatened the NBA, and the NBA originally buckled to it! Until they got the impression that they were doing this all wrong, and now they’re trying to have it both ways. But take a look at what’s happened here. I want to draw an analogy for you. We have the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, on Friday sending out a tweet that — in the normal ebb and flow — nobody should have ever noticed. They were just supporting the freedom-loving, democracy-loving seekers in Hong Kong!
Who are being beaten up and threatened and imprisoned by the ChiComs. So he sends out this tweet and all hell breaks loose. Half of the NBA players come down on this guy. “How dare you criticize the Chinese! How dare you!” The NBA executive bunch, their initial reaction was to come down on Daryl Morey, who is the general manager of the Houston Rockets. Now, what happened? The ChiComs blew up. And why? Because the ChiComs do not permit dissent. The ChiComs are…
I don’t care what anybody else thinks they are. They are, first and foremost, command-and-control communists. There is no freedom in communism. There is no dissent in communism. There is no individuality or sovereignty in communism. You are nothing but a slave in communism — and if you stray, you will pay a price that may include costing you your life. So here we have — in the big scheme of things — a small and mild little tweet about Hong Kong, and it has been turned into a gigantic and polarizing international issue.
And another great lesson. Look at how quickly the National Basketball Association instinctively decided to come down on the side of the communist Chinese government and not the general manager of the Houston Rockets who essentially tweeted a little message of support for the freedom fighters in Hong Kong.
That’s all it took to create this massive controversy. Well, the NBA preseason is underway. There’s a bunch of teams over there playing exhibition games, the ChiComs are threatening not to let the games go on. LeBron James — get this — LeBron James has been told it’s up to him to fix this. It’s up to LeBron James to somehow bridge this controversy.
The Chinese love basketball. You know why this is? They’re short compared to NBA players. They admire, “Oh, man, that’s cool, to be able to dunk,” what have you. I mean, there’s other reasons too. It’s intriguing sport for some people.
The people of Hong Kong are fighting a war against communism. There are some people in this country who think that we’re fighting the same battle here, but our battle is not so much with the government yet, but with individual leftists that run and have taken over institutions.
But the ChiComs have shown everybody what they really are. They are dictatorial. They will shut down all disent and they will do it with violence if they have to. And that is what they really are. Then Biden’s out there (imitating Biden), “The Chinese are not a problem. I’ve been there. I’d made deals with them and my son. Oh, wait. Well, they’re not a threat. They’re not our enemy. Come on, man, the Chinese are not our enemy.”
So now the NBA, the commissioner, Adam Silver, they’re kind of backtracking now and trying to show support for Adam Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, while trying not to tick off the ChiComs because here come the usual complaints. “The NBA buckled to money. They care more about money and a big market than they do civil and human rights.”
BRETT: What’s remarkable to me about this situation with China is I understand you want to have as many people as you possibly can consume your product, no matter what your product is. If it’s a chocolate bar, if it’s a web browser, if it’s a phone of some kind, whatever, obviously any business wants to see that people are gonna be consuming their product. It makes sense from a business standpoint.
But never has it been so abundantly clear that there are two tracks. There are the track of the people who are in business with the NBA and everybody else who’s left behind. And for Adam Silver and the association to run interference for the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping, and to look at the abuse of Muslims who are living in China to look at Christians who are living in China.
To be able to people who are currently locked up in China, guys like Jimmy Lai, a wealthy businessman, have I wealthy businessman who has been locked up for months and months and months because he dared to speak out in defense of Hong Kong — which, by the way, when it comes to Hong Kong, is an abrogation of the agreement between the United Kingdom and China!
China’s essentially just saying, “We’re not gonna give it special status. We’re just taking it and making it our own and doing crackdowns.” America stands for liberty and freedom. We heard so much in the last years about what the Statue of Liberty means to the rest of the world. Yet somehow, that message doesn’t get through the haze of the dollars and cents and the yuan there with the Communist Party of China.