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While the NBA may be close knit with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), one basketball player from a different league is calling attention to the regime’s human rights abuses.
Nike CEO John Donahue recently said, “We are the largest sport brand there, and we are a brand of China and for China. And the biggest asset we have in China is the consumer equity. Consumers feel a strong, deep connection to the NIKE, Jordan and Converse brands in China. And it’s real.”
However, Royce White, a player for the Power, a team in the Big 3, a 3-v-3 basketball league, thinks that it’s more important to point out how the China’s Communist Party is oppressing minorities rather than how it’s pumping out profits for corporate leaders. CBS interviewed White where he held a up a t-shirt that said, “Free the Uyghurs,” and featured a backward-facing Nike swoosh, likely a reference to the company’s cozy relationship with China.
When media outlets did not give the interview much coverage, White tweeted, “When you know a moment like this should be going viral but instead you get crickets from media outlets… that’s when you know you’re doing it the right way. When it doesn’t suit anybody to talk about justice and freedom, that’s when you should talk about it. #FreeTheUyghurs”
Erin Elmore, a writer with Townhall, accused NBA players of feigned activism in protesting against injustice in America but not in China. “Let’s start at the bottom — with their feet,” she wrote. “See that elongated check mark? That’s the Nike Swoosh, and it’s more prevalent on NBA player bodies than a tattoo. The problem there is that Nike is the standard bearer for corporate human rights abuses, and their factories in China are one of the closest things that exist to slavery in the modern world.”
The NBA postures about Black Lives Matter but has consistently stayed quiet on China’s injustices in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. As David Whitley wrote,
“Just one request. Amid all the preaching, would someone make a peep about a country [China] that commits more human rights abuses in 10 minutes than the U.S. does in 10 years? Don’t press your ears against the NBA’s bubble waiting for an answer. The league officially declared it has no soul in October, when Houston general manager Daryl Morey sent one measly tweet supporting the democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Chinese Communist Party started pulling NBA games off TV and merchandise off shelves. With its multibillion-dollar relationship threatened, the NBA quickly bowed in subservience and sent Morey to re-education camp.”
Bravo to Royce White for having the courage to say what Nike and the NBA won’t. He is speaking about real injustice. The CCP has imprisoned more than 1 million Uyghurs and are torturing them, enslaving them, and destroying an entire race of people and their culture, in addition to terrorizing other groups, including Christians, Hong Kongers, and the Falun Gong. The NBA and major corporations have a platform and the resources to expose these human rights abuses, but they don’t.
In a single tweet, White revealed exactly why the CCP has only gotten bolder in its crimes against humanity: Because Nike, the NBA, mainstream media outlets, and other pro-China corporations are more than willing to turn a blind eye to human misery and injustice so long as the CCP keeps the money flowing.