I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who declared "I'd rather be silent and assumed a fool then to speak and remove all doubt."
That may not have been a bad philosophy for NBA coach Steve Kerr to adopt last week. When pressed about the human right abuses in China (with whom his league has a very lucrative business partnership), Kerr glossed over that in favor of America's own sins. In Kerr's mind, a kook going on a shooting rampage in an American mall is on par with a system of government which literally imprisons (and sometimes tortures) its own people for having the audacity to dissent.
Not to be outdone, the National Basketball Association's most recognizable player came off as even more tone deaf. When asked about Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey posting a tweet showing support for those protesting China's tyrannical government, LeBron James didn't exactly cover himself in glory.
I think when we all sit back and learn from the situation that happened, understand that what you could tweet or could say... We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you're not thinking about others, and you're only thinking about yourself. I don't want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too."
Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA’s China controversy: “I don’t want to get into a ... feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.” pic.twitter.com/KKrMNU0dKR — Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 15, 2019
There is so much to unpack in that awful statement that I don't even know where to begin. How about where LeBron indicated that Morey was only thinking about himself? Seems to me that Morey showing support for the citizens of Hong Kong who are literally putting their lives in peril for the sake of liberty (resulting in such support negatively impacting his employer's bottom line) is the antithesis of selfishness.
But the bit about "many people could have been harmed not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually" is perhaps the most elitist thing said to date. I'm going to hope LeBron is just woefully ignorant of the literal physical and emotional harm being heaped upon the pro-liberty crown in Hong Kong. After all, to compare the plight of multi, multi millionaires (and, in the case of NBA owners governors, billionaires) being a tad lighter in the pocketbook isn't in the same stratosphere as those being shot at point blank range, having organs harvested, etc.
Finally, LeBron decries the fact that there "can be a lot of negatives" that come with free expression. Given what he's expressed in the past, it would stand to reason he believes its worth the risk.
Not only has the NBA been hampered financially in this whole kerfuffle, it has also gone from having a reputation as the most "WOKE!" pro sports league to a vast collection of elitist virtue signaling cowards. I hope whatever remains of the prosperous deal with China was worth it.