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No American pro sports league has profited more from its business relationship with China than the NBA, and the NBA has been known to take some serious social justice and political stands in the United States.
So it will be interesting to see if the league will take a stand against its biggest business partner, now that a Chinese court has ruled in favor of a widely circulated Chinese textbook that describes homosexuality as “a psychological disorder.”
Remember, the NBA is the same organization that once pulled its All-Star Game out of Charlotte after a North Carolina law banned transgender people from using bathrooms in accordance with their gender identities.
Now, will the league speak out about the Chinese court ruling that states referring to homosexuality as a mental disorder is a-OK? Will it pull preseason games out of China, stop accepting money from Chinese merchandise sales, vehemently speak out about the communist nation’s decision to promote materials that are clearly anti-LGBT?
Perhaps the bigger question is, will members of the NBA media even bother to ask? After all, they sure seem to pepper the league’s Democratic flag-carriers with political questions, constantly seeking the opinions of major players such as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich — who on Tuesday bashed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to drop the state’s mask mandate.
Of course, homosexuality being called a “mental disorder” is the least of China’s social justice atrocities, given the Xinjiang internment camps, which are rife with human rights abuses, mistreatment, rape and torture of Uyghurs and other Muslims. Some have even alleged genocide of these minorities.
The NBA knows about all of this, yet it continues to stay in bed with China, fighting for its right to earn big bucks off a nation that is filled with wicked and cruel acts against humanity.
Few agree with the NBA’s decision to support social justice at home, but the league doesn’t make nearly the money from its U.S. fan base as it does from the one in China. As late NBA commissioner David Stern once told me, “There are 350 million people in America. There are 350 million people in China who love basketball.”
So the NBA doesn’t deny that its business relationship with China is of critical importance. But staying quiet about human rights violations involving its biggest business partner — including a Chinese court’s acceptance of homosexuality as a psychological issue — is downright hypocritical.