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Monday, Mark Cuban appeared on the Megyn Kelly Show. The NBA owner spun the NBA’s tank-job as hard as he could, discussing the league’s ratings collapse, Black Lives Matter, and the NBA’s relationship with China.
Billionaire NBA owner Mark Cuban joined @MegynKelly for an in-depth, wide-ranging conversation on family and raising kids, the NBA and the social justice movement, NBA ratings and business with China and more – subscribe/download the FULL interview here: https://t.co/F96HgI7HIW
— The Megyn Kelly Show (@MegynKellyShow) October 12, 2020
As Outkick has written, the 2020 NBA Finals are an historic disaster — with games down as much as 58% year-over-year. Kelly accurately blames the league’s decision to go political for the millions of Americans turning away.
“You wear a pink ribbon to support breast cancer is one thing. Putting BLM in the middle of the court when it’s not supported by virtually any Republican in the country [is another],” she started.
Cuban then oddly asked Kelly “which BLM group” she was referring to.
“It’s a group founded by Marxists, who want to dismantle the nuclear family and defund the police,” Kelly responded.
Cuban claimed that BLM.com and the movement were not the same: “You never, ever heard [the NBA] talk about Marxism.”
Kelly got him again: “To pretend BLM — dot com, or otherwise — is not about defunding the police is dishonest. The basketball players have made clear, they support that.”
Cuban didn’t deny that certain players want to dismantle the police. “Individual players can have their opinions,” he says. The NBA “is interested in police reform. We’ve never talked about defunding the police.”
Though Cuban is correct the NBA, as a unit, has never stated they are for defunding police, the league has fully embraced BLM. The group, as Kelly notes, “devotes” itself to defunding law enforcement agencies across the country.
Cuban tried to argue that there was no one speaking for BLM, but that isn’t true either.
“The co-founder of BLM, Patrisse Cullors, was on TV saying, ‘We should abolish law enforcement,'” Kelly noted.
For some reason, Cuban claimed that networks were simply re-airing Cullors’ quotes.
“Your audience is fleeing,” Kelly said on the topic of viewership decline. “They object to the politicization of the league… [The NBA] has suffered.”
Kelly broke down the Finals’ turnout:
“Lowest Finals opener ever. Game 2, another new low. Game 3, down an unprecedented 58% from last year.
“This is during a marquee matchup with the Lakers and Heat. Last year, they had some team in Canada. That matchup is crushing what we are seeing now.”
Kelly summed up the series: “This is an unprecedented viewership collapse.”
Here is where the discussion got good. Cuban used the same excuses the sports media has used for years to distract from the NBA’s tanking numbers. He blamed the media outlets that Kelly chose to cite: “The sources might not be reflective of reality.” Kelly said she read about the NBA ratings on Outkick.
“You are not looking outside NBA ratings to see what is happening in media,” Cuban fired back. He also mentioned horse racing’s decline.
As I explained last week, NBA defenders are now comparing the league to niche sports — like horse racing and hockey. But in 2016, the same media members compared the NBA with the NFL.
Which one is it? Is the NBA on its way to catching the NFL, or is it a niche sport catered to a specific audience?
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) December 3, 2019
Later in the interview, the two got into the NBA’s business relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.
Kelly asked point-blank, “Why won’t you and the NBA condemn” China?
“I put a priority on domestic issues,” Cuban returned. “I’m against all human rights violations around the world. China is not the only country with human rights violations.”
I credit Mark Cuban for going on the podcast and discussing these issues. Most wouldn’t do that. But on the topic of China, he went from spin-master to world-class dodger.
Nearly every time Kelly asked him to be specific about condemning China, he responded by saying he’s “against all human rights violations.” He even gave this same vague response when Kelly asked him directly if he condemns the genocide going on in China.
To be clear: I don’t believe that Cuban is indifferent to what is going on in China. However, he is putting business ahead of human rights. China “is a customer of ours,” he explained to Kelly. “And I’m OK with doing business with China.”
If Cuban, LeBron James, or Adam Silver really wanted to effect change outside the world of basketball, then they would denounce China. They won’t.
We encourage you to listen to the whole interview.
Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter @burackbobby_.