Without doubt, Shaquille O’Neal is one of the NBA’s greatest and most colorful players of all-time. Of course, he’s retired now, and is working as an analyst/commentator on TNT’s Inside the NBA show with host Ernie Johnson, and fellow former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
In a discussion on the show, Shaq has this to say about the controversy over Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet support the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement:
As American people, we do a lot of business in China, and they know and understand our values and we understand their values. And one of our best values in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want to say and we’re allowed to speak up on injustices, and that’s just how it goes.Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq understands what it is to be an American. Cynics might say that he’s retired and very, very wealthy, so it doesn’t cost him anything to say what he said. True, but the NBA as a whole and many of the players and coaches that have backed down to pressure from China are also very, very wealthy. They could also easily afford to forego some money coming from China in order to stand up for American values and for the people of Hong Kong that are fighting to retain those same values: free speech, free assembly, self-representation and universal suffrage, and a fair and independent judiciary and legal system.
As we noted in an article from two weeks ago, “The Love of Money,” greed leads to short-term thinking and bad decisions that often are destructive, not just to those making the poor choices, but also to people around them, and even to entire countries and the whole world. The NBA and some of its coaches and players have been caught in that. To continue making money from basketball fans in China, they have been trying to appease the oppressive and evil CCP. It’s wrong and shortsighted, and we are very happy to see Shaquille O’Neal come down squarely on the side of human rights and Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
Vice President Pence Speaks on Hong Kong and U.S. Relationship China
In recent weeks, we’ve seen numerous U.S. senators and representatives making appearances in Hong Kong, posting tweets and video supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and it is under consideration in the Senate (it needs to be passed by the Senate as soon as possible; we urge the Senate leadership to schedule it for a vote immediately).
However, the Trump administration has been relatively restrained in its comments on Hong Kong – until today, when Vice President Pence spoke on the subject.
The text of the Vice President’s speech is here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-frederic-v-malek-memorial-lecture/
And to the millions in Hong Kong who have been peacefully demonstrating to protect your rights these past months, we stand with you. We are inspired by you, and we urge you to stay on the path of nonviolent protest. But know that you have the prayers and the admiration of millions of Americans.Vice President Pence
The Vice President’s clear statement supporting the pro-democracy movement is heartening. He tied Beijing’s handling of Hong Kong to the outcome of trade negotiations, reiterating earlier statements that “it would be much harder for us to make a trade deal if the authorities resort to the use of violence against protestors in Hong Kong.”
The Vice President also talked about the NBA’s shameful handling of the CCP’s reaction to Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong demonstrators, saying:
And some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of 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.
A progressive corporate culture that willfully ignores the abuse of human rights is not progressive; it is repressive.
When American corporations, professional sports, pro athletes embrace censorship, it’s not just wrong; it’s un-American. American corporations should stand up for American values here at home and around the world.Vice President Pence
The Vice President’s and Shaquille O’Neal’s remarks on the NBA’s handling of Daryl Morey’s tweet reflect American values. As Shaq said – Daryl Morey was right.
Foreign Policy’s web site has a good article on the Vice President’s speech. Read it at this link: