American sports should find their backbone
American sports organizations have backed down from their stances against Communist China.
October 17, 2019
With the recent protests involving Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China, which deal with China attempting to infringe on Hong Kong’s judicial system. In response to this, there have been multiple people from different sports organizations voicing their support of Hong Kong. But with a little push back from Communist China, these organizations folded like accordions and showed, at least in my opinion, that they only stand up against injustice when it benefits them and their wallets.
This resemblance paired with the fact that America stands very much against communist states lead to sports figures from around the country speaking out in support of Hong Kong.
One of these figures was Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. Morey tweeted an image with the words “Fight for freedom Stand with Hong Kong” in big bold letters. The Houston Rockets decided that, instead of standing with Morey and showing solidarity with him and Hong Kong, they would separate themselves from his comment— most likely due to the business ramifications that would follow if they stood against China. Morey would later distance himself from the comments by apologizing to anyone he may have offended.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver made a statement that he stands by players, coaches, and other members of the NBA when it comes to exercising their freedom of speech, but that did not show as the talk in support of Hong Kong was quickly stopped the moment China expressed any disagreement with the comments.
Just like that the league fell silent, with questions about the conflict being shot down left and right in press conferences with teams like the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.
One key figure who chose not to speak out against China was Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, which I find to be out of character. Kerr is someone who is very outspoken when it comes to sharing his opinions, as shown by his public disagreements with President Donald Trump, to the point where Trump has called him out by name when discussing the NBA’s conflict with China, pointing out that Kerr “looked like a scared little boy” when asked to answer a question regarding China but “he’ll talk about the United States very badly.
Now I personally do not agree with a lot of what the President has to say most of the time, but this is one thing that I definitely think he is making a point of.
Why is that when injustice rears its ugly head in America, people like Steve Kerr are quick to speak out and condemn it, but when it comes to speaking out against someone who will directly affect their pockets, as well as the pockets of their peers, they have nothing to say? I think that shows that maybe they only like to speak out when it is convenient to them and is not going to have any serious ramifications besides people sending out some heated tweets.
If you have a stance that changes when the slightest bit of adversity comes your way, then that brings questions of the validity of your stance and makes me wonder if you only speak out like that when you think it might benefit you.
This is not the only American sports company that has chosen to try to preserve their relationship with China after comments made by someone within one of their organizations. Blizzard Entertainment, the American video game company, recently banned a popular e-sport player, from entering tournaments for the next year, as well as stripped away tournament winnings, after he said the the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” in an interview following a match live for thousands to see. That man is Ng Wai Chung, better known as “Blitzchung”, who is a Hearthstone player from Hong Kong.
This is even more infuriating than the NBA’s reaction. This is actively attempting to silence players and members of the organizations under Blizzard, as they claim that comments like that violates the competition rules. So by speaking out for people in your own home country, that is grounds for suspensions and other punishments? Why should someone stay silent when they have family in that country who are potentially in danger? I know I would want to scream my support to anyone who would listen if I was in his shoes.
In response to this controversial decision by Blizzard to please China, who is a big contributor to the company, people have gone to great lengths to show their disagreement. Blizzard employees have staged walk-outs, people are unsubscribing from the companies games and services, and major figures in the e-sports community have spoken out against Blizzard. I applaud everyone who is using their platforms to speak out against Blizzard, the consumers boycotting their products, and the employees for walking out in solidarity.
China will most likely continue to push for suppression of negative press coverage and people speaking out against them in whatever parts of the world that they have reach in for as long as conflicts like this go on. It is up to organizations and people with large platforms to stand their ground and let their true voice be heard. So far when it comes to sports organizations in the United States, we have a lot of work to do.
Jack Kirk is a senior at Robinson and the Sports Editor for the Knight Writers and RHSToday. He is a sports junkie, music lover and chicken tender expert....