If there’s anything this past year taught us is that The NBA loves to be seen as leading edge on Social Justice issues and that China doesn’t give a damn about ordinary people.
So what happens when these two values come into conflict?
Between Communist China and the NBA brass, which side is the moral leader here, the one calling the shots, the one defining the relationship?
Said differently, who is the thermostat, and who is the thermometer?
If China holding the entire NBA’s collective nutsack in a jar last fall over a single TWEET wasn’t enough to make that clear, maybe this story will help clear away any doubts.
Even this objection by Bruce Palmer seems to show more concern for the NBA’s reputation than it does about an adult beating the hell out of a kid.
The NBA is facing several allegations of child abuse at its academies in China, according to Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN. The allegations come from employees and coaches at three academies in China, including one in Xinjiang that has since been closed. One coach described the entire enterprise to ESPN as “a sweat camp for athletes.” At least two coaches reportedly left jobs at the academies over the treatment of its athletes.
The allegations come from a number of fronts. The NBA has received at least three reports of physical violence against players, including one incident in which a Chinese coach allegedly threw a ball at a player’s face before kicking him in the stomach. There was also an incident involving a player suffering from heat exhaustion. Bruce Palmer, formerly the technical director of a private basketball school that had a sponsorship agreement with the league which allowed it to call itself an “NBA training center,” said that he routinely had to tell coaches in China not to physically harm athletes.
“You can’t do that to your kid, this is an NBA training center,” he once told a coach. “If you really feel like hitting a 14-year-old boy, and you think it’s going to help him or make you feel better, take him off campus, but not here, because the NBA does not allow this.” CBSSports
How about you abuse him around the corner, where I can at least have some plausible deniability.
You’re so stunning and brave, you NBA social justice warriors, you. At least, until your scruples come in conflict with your corporate balance sheet. Then suddenly we discover every damned one of you has a spine is made of Jello.
ESPN’s investigation into the NBA-China relationship began in the fall, shortly after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters who are fighting for democracy. ESPN wrote that the report “sheds new light on the lucrative NBA-China relationship and the costs of doing business with a government that suppresses free expression and is accused of cultural genocide.”
One coach who worked at the NBA academy in China told ESPN, “Imagine you have a kid who’s 13, 14 years old, and you’ve got a grown coach who is 40 years old hitting your kid. We’re part of that. The NBA is part of that.”
That’s exactly right. The NBA is PART of that. Having done nothing to stop it, when it was in their power to do so, they did NOTHING.
For once, your little slogan is actually true: Silence Is Violence.
How DARE to lecture other people about the plight of the oppressed when you cash endorsement checks from sneakers made with Uighur slave labor, and abuse of children?
How about you take a break from lecturing the REST of the world about ‘oppression’ until you get your OWN damned house in order?
Why didn’t they speak up?
Because China has them by the economic short hairs. And they explicitly chose to let these children pay the price for their silence than to risk their own necks — or more accurately, balance sheets.
These are the people who imagine themselves to be morally superior to the majority of German civilians who did NOT agree with the Hitlerian regime but were too afraid to speak up about it.
You have just proven something beyond your lack of any moral superiority to those 20th Century German citizens. You have failed precisely the same test… so concerned about what it might cost you to do the right thing that you never actually DID the right thing.