I have previously written about the disgraceful way that the NBA has kowtowed to the Chinese government after a single team manager sent a harmless expression of personal support for the protesters in Hong Kong. The cringing subservience of the NBA was on display in Japan when CNN’s Christina Macfarlane asked an obvious and reasonable questions at a press conference about whether players felt that the NBA response had sent a clear message not to criticize China’s human rights violations. In other words, do they feel censored on social issues? The NBA’s response was fast and clear: they took away MacFarlane’s microphone. They then announced that there would be no press conferences during the China trip. Problem solved.
Here is Macfarlane’s question which was not just poignant but obvious: “The NBA has always been a league that prides itself on its players and coaches being able to speak out openly about political and social affairs. I just wonder after the events of this week, and the fallout we’ve seen, whether you would both feel differently about speaking out in that way in the future?”
You can then hear an NBA staffer remove her mike as Macfarlane objects “It’s a legitimate question. This is an event that has happened this week.”
The most pathetic thing about the NBA’s shameless pandering to the Chinese is its effort to pretend that it is not shamelessly pandering to the Chinese.