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The NBA’s Broken Wokeness

It’s almost like trusting American corporations to do what’s morally right when there’s a lot of money at stake is a bad idea.

Following the NBA’s capitulation to Chinese outrage, Bari Weiss tears into the league concerning its hypocrisy and lack of moral backbone.

The question is how an American league that prides itself on promoting progressive values squares those values with allowing an apologist for authoritarianism to own one of its teams. What’s more, why is a league run by a commissioner who rightly criticized President Trump’s Muslim travel ban for going ​“against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great N.B.A.” also running a training camp for young players in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, amid camps of a far different kind?

Woke politics often seems to train our collective attention down on our navels rather than out at the world. Is the issue of gender-neutral bathrooms really as morally urgent as a country that is, as Pete Buttigieg sharply put it, ​“using technology for the perfection of dictatorship?” This is a worldview that encourages companies to take cost-free stands on the progressive cause of the moment and do absolutely nothing to uphold fundamental progressive values when doing so requires more sacrifice than the time it takes to write up a news release. A worldview that fails to force companies like the N.B.A., Apple, Google and Disney to account for the fact that they are serving as handmaidens to totalitarians is not one worth taking seriously.

I don’t often read or link to Rod Dreher, but this is gold:

Note well: in 2016, the NBA pulled the league All-Star game from North Carolina to protest the state’s transgender bathroom bill. They claimed it was a matter of principle. Now we see exactly what the principle$ of the NBA mean when it comes to offending the Chinese Communists.

However, it’s not just the NBA who’s guilty of cowardice. Apple has removed apps and even emoji that upset Chinese leaders. Activision Blizzard suspended a professional gamer for making pro-Hong Kong statements. And Nike — the company that did this ad campaign — has removed Houston Rockets gear from several Chinese stores.

It’s almost like trusting American corporations to do what’s morally right, not just when it’s easy and results in good PR but also when it’s inconvenient, unpopular, and they risk losing lots of money, is a bad idea. Who knew?


Read more about China, Free Speech, and NBA.

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