The National Basketball Association (NBA) was proverbially dunked on Friday night when a Hollywood producer purchased 300 tickets to a game, and gave all 300 attendees t-shirts with pro-Hong Kong messaging to protest the league’s stance on Chinese affairs.
“Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight’s Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA. They’re all wearing ‘Stand With Hong Kong’ t-shirts,” Yashar Ali reported via Twitter.
In a thread, Ali shared several more photos of the event.
“Hong Kong politician and activist Nathan Law at the Nets Vs Raptors game wearing the ‘Stand With Hong Kong’ t-shirt,” said a second tweet.
Here’s a shot from a wider view.
And two more.
A couple of the protestors wore Winnie The Pooh costumes. The cartoon character had become a symbol of protesters before it was outrightly banned by the communist Chinese regime in Beijing.
The NBA has been at the center of the controversy in America’s discourse over the protests in Hong Kong. Residents there first began protesting months ago against an extradition bill that would have allowed them to be hauled off to mainland China, but have expanded their demand to full democracy in the territory.
When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the protestors in Hong Kong, he was rebuked by the league and forced to delete his tweet. The NBA does billions of dollars worth of business in China, and does not want to rock the boat and risk hurting its bottom line.
Fox Sports 1 reporter Jason Whitlock last week explained the league’s position on China, while criticizing the hypocrisy of its players who are known for being “woke” social justice types.
“I think the cultural impact that China’s influence over a great sport, great American sport like basketball, is just now being exposed and just how dependent the NBA is on the Chinese economy and the Chinese money to put on the appearance of how great the league is doing. Without the Chinese money and without — you really have to understand the shoe companies, Nike, Adidas, they run American basketball from the high school level all the way to the pros and the shoe companies are dependent on the China market and that’s where all of this is coming from,” Whitlock said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
When the league refused to stand up for democracy to protect its cash flow, that led to backlash from fans. On Oct. 9, the first fan to protest the league at a game was thrown out for bringing a pro-Hong Kong sign to a Washington Wizards game.
That fan was Patrick Hedger, who posted his protest in a tweet that quickly went viral.
More fans brought a sign to the game that said “Google Uyghurs,” which was promptly confiscated.
The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority Muslim group, 11 million of whom live in China’s expansive Xinjiang province. Horrifying stories of Uyghurs being captured and sent to “rape and torture” camps have emerged from survivors of the camps. They are sent to these camps by the Chinese regime for “re-education” and indoctrination into communist Chinese propaganda. The Beijing regime does not take kindly to any higher authority than the Communist Party, which presents a problem for religious groups.
The NBA is determined to look the other way while human rights abuses abound inside the powerful East Asian dictatorship.