Sunday, October 27, 2019

Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong

“Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong”
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 27, 2019

“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” 

With that seven word Tweet, posted by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, a firestorm erupted demonstrating the hypocrisy of the NBA while shining a brighter light on the struggles of Hong Kongers and their fight for freedom.

Protests in the city that enjoys more autonomy that their mainland brethren have moved from largely peaceful to a greater level of intensity and even violence. To strengthen their most worthy cause, ongoing for more than the past six months, the protesters should behave more like the Tea Party and infinitely less than Antifa.

To not want alleged criminals extradited to the mainland is a valid concern, as it would seem the so-called leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, is a puppet of the mainland despotic regime. Lam, the first woman Chief Executive of Hong Kong, was appointed by the Central People’s Government in April 2017 and assumed her post in July of the same year.

Yes, the People’s Republic of China is run by a despotic regime, regardless of what the likes of LeBron James, Charles Barkley, and even official NBA bloviators say. Perpetrators of human rights violations for decades if not centuries, as well as current abusive treatment of their Muslim minorities, should net the Chinese government greater criticism than that which is doled out upon the United States and its government.

By siding with the Chinese efforts to squash Hong Kong capitalism and freedom, the NBA, Nike, and any players kow-towing to the despotic regime in Beijing are demonstrating sheer hypocrisy. For starters, the league, under the auspices of Commissioner Adam Silver, unceremoniously threw Morey under the bus, first by not defending his Constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech, then by calling Morey’s words and Tweet “regrettable.” The NBA should be renamed the No Backbone Association for falling all over itself to kiss the collective tuchuses of the powers that be in China. To be fair, the NBA stopped short of punishing Morey, which would have set free speech back to the Stone Age.

While I will defend a person’s First Amendment right of free speech, that in no way should be tantamount to an endorsement. The NBA sold out to China like the fawning obsequious weasels they truly are. LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, the first to criticize Morey, tweeted that he was “misinformed or not really educated on the situation.” If James is standing up for China against supporters of freedom in Hong Kong, clearly it is he who is misinformed and most certainly uneducated.

Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’ Neal, most definitely a capitalist - is there a product he is not endorsing these days - took up for Morey. O’ Neal defended Morey’s First Amendment rights in no uncertain terms. “Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say ‘that’s not right.’ … Here, we have the right to speak… We’re going to say whatever we want to say whenever we want to say it,” pronounced O’ Neal during TNT’s pregame show prior to opening night in the NBA.

Vice President Mike Pence also spoke out in support of Morey and free speech while taking swipes at both the NBA and Nike, a company heavily invested in China. “In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime,” said Pence.

Pence took a requisite shot at Nike, the company whose recent mantra has been “Stand for something, even if you lose everything.” Clearly Nike put greed ahead of what Americans stand for. “Nike promotes itself as a so-called social-justice champion, but when it comes to Hong Kong, it prefers checking its social conscience at the door,” said Pence who also leveled criticism at Beijing for its poor treatment of its Muslim minority population.

Responding to Pence, former NBA player Charles Barkley said, on the air, that vice president Pence “needs to shut the hell up.” Does Barkley deserve more of a First Amendment right than Pence? Of course not. While it is his right to say what he said, Barkley was wrong for saying it. On the other hand, Barkley suggested that the US should “stop all transactions with China.” That is a very good idea.

Not only should the United States support Hong Kong, its fight for freedom, and Hong Kongers themselves with trade deals, the NBA should promote itself in Hong Kong, not mainland China until China comes around in its treatment of minorities and stops stealing American technology. Hong Kongers should use 1776 as its template. Americans, enjoying free speech (for now) should speak up vociferously for Hong Kong and against the Chinese government which continues to deny its own people the right of free speech.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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