The red lights about the basketball league’s cowardly tendency to self-humiliation began to flicker at the height of power as early as last October, when Houston Rockets team manager Daryl Murray tweeted an expression of support for demonstrations for democracy in Hong Kong and created a huge storm. Murray Had to apologize, And a host of basketball stars rushed after him to demonstrate their ignorance regarding the nature of the regime in China in particular and democracy in general.
The Murray affair alone was enough to expose NBA leaders as members of a wealthy and immoral cult. But for those who needed more evidence, came ESPN’s new investigation, based on interviews with former league employees who were involved in NBA’s player development programs in China, in which China’s potential basketball market is estimated at $ 5 billion. According to two employees interviewed for the investigation, the basketball schools established by the NBA across China are designed for one main purpose: to find the next Yao Ming – the Chinese star who retired several years ago and was the basis for the league’s economic success in Asia. What was sold to the world as an altruistic initiative offering young Chinese an opportunity for education and development, were in practice nothing more than human basketball farms set up to raise the new cash cow.
One of these schools was established in Xinjiang, a province in western China where more than a million Uyghur minorities are held in concentration camps. That basketball school was very similar to the rest of the league’s schools in the country: young boys were beaten by coaches, forced into crowded rooms and never received the academic education they were promised. But there was one difference in this school: the boys who attended it were Uighurs. Corbin Luber, a fitness coach who worked for the NBA in Xinjiang for a year Tweeted in May 2019 Because “one of the biggest challenges” in working in the county was “not just the discrimination and harassment I personally experienced, but turning a blind eye to the harassment and discrimination against the Uyghurs around me”. According to the investigation, another former employee who worked for the league in China compared it to “Germany during World War II.” Just last week, the NBA admitted for the first time that the Xinjiang basketball camp was closed. It is possible that the boys who participated in it and believed in promises for a better future are now in a completely different kind of camp.
One who seems particularly confused by the whole situation is NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Taitum who is portrayed in the investigation as a morally corrupt man, not because the authors describe him as such but rather from the words he himself said. “When he was pushed into a corner,” they describe, “Taitum refused to say whether the human rights issue was a factor in the closure of the school in Xinjiang.” And when he did agree to finally talk about league activities in China, he did so in seemingly clean but very disturbing language. “We do need more direct oversight and the ability to make team changes if necessary,” he said, a corporate code for “Maybe we should hire coaches who do not vigorously beat the children, if the Communist Party allows us.”
Later in the research, one of the former coaches describes it better: “Imagine you have a 13- or 14-year-old child, and a 40-year-old adult coach has beaten him. We are part of it, the NBA is part of it. ” But when reporters presented Tatum with this information, he once again turned to the ignorance card used by NBA players last year when asked uncomfortable questions about China: “My job, our job, is not to take a stand on any human rights violation and I Not an expert in any such situation. Tell you what the NBA believes: League values speak for respect, inclusion and human diversity. These are the things we believe in. ”
“Honor,” “Inclusion,” “Diversity” – these are exactly the same words she slammed in the NBA piety of American conservatives in 2017 when she decided to copy the annual All-Star Game outside the state of North Carolina after it passed a law requiring transgender people to use public services Appropriate to their biological gender.
A similar false progressive righteousness was once again on display recently when the league announced it would allow players to display on social jerseys messages of “social justice”, of course as long as they are not dealing with Hong Kong, the Uighurs in Xinjiang or anything else that might upset the Communists in China.
The incredible hypocrisy and impudence of taking a “moral stance” against separate services for men and women but not against genocide reveals that there was no “morality” in this position in the first place – just pure economic consideration. With the services affair for example could have somehow hurt the NBA’s profit margin, it is clear we would have heard other voices from its top executives. We know this because these are the same senior officials who have done everything to avoid talking about the atrocities that China is committing in a transparent attempt to protect the profit line.
The only alternative explanation for this is that league executives really believe that separate toilets are more shocking than planned ethnic cleansing, but even they are not that morally stupid and rotten. The simple truth is that the only “values” in the NBA are money, money and more money. So the next time any representative of the league embarks on another fake “social justice” crusade, we Americans just have to politely tell him where he can push him.
In the past, the social activism of American athletes came with a real price tag, one that proved their intent was real and not fake. For example, Muhammad Ali’s opposition to the war in Vietnam cost him not only the title of world heavyweight champion, but also some of the peak years of his career. Football player Colin Kaepernick, who began the knee-jerk protest during the anthem several years ago, now holds a multi-million dollar advertising contract with Nike – not because he really plays football but because of harsh and grotesque statements he made against American police and for dictators like Fidel Castro. Work pays off overall.
Empire of Evil
The kitsch and “social justice” industry of American sports is a self-righteous and puritanical phenomenon aimed primarily at impressing the same small, closed group of people, and not threatening at all those who actually commit serious crimes against justice and society. While multimillionaire basketball players are rubbing their minds over what a corporate-happy message to print on their game jersey, young people who believed in NBA promises are now rotting in labor camps.
During Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech in 1983, he quoted author K.S. Lewis who warned against the temptation of drifting for a moral comparison between America and its enemies. Today, his words fit exactly with the NBA Board:
The greatest evil does not take place within the “crime dens” that Dickens was so fond of describing. It was not even done in concentration and labor camps. These are the embodiment of the end results, but someone thought and ordered them long before; In well-kept, warm and well-lit offices, with white-collar people and well-groomed nails, clean-shaven managers who don’t even have to raise their voices. “
The collaboration between NBA executives and the Chinese Communist Party against the most basic American values is a national scandal. In today’s media climate there is a constant fixation to focus on the loudest and most prominent villains. This is an important thing, even commendable, but it often prevents us from asking tough questions to the people who really hold on to power. And these are not questions that deal with what they slap at us, but with the things they whisper to each other.
A full version of the article was first published on the National Review website