Deadspin Discounts NBA's Progressivism Over Pot, Anthem Policies, China Submission

May 3rd, 2020 10:00 AM

The National Basketball Association is practically a wing of the Democratic Party, but it isn't progressive enough to suit Dustin Foote, Deadspin blogger. Sure, the NBA's taken a lot of ultra-progressive stands, but its insistence on punishing players for marijuana offenses, its national anthem policy and its timid reaction to communist China last fall are stains upon its otherwise glorious progressivism.

Foote says the NBA "could be one of the most progressive athletic organizations in the country." Progressive sports radio and Twitter offer support for the claim, he insists. "But the league continues to operate in non-progressive ways and even support an undemocratic, authoritarian government," Foote complains.

The No. 1 example of the NBA's classic progressivism, Foote writes, is Commissioner Adam Silver's yanking away the 2017 all-star game from North Carolina "because the state, at the time, legally discriminated against transgender people." The photo shows Silver discussing the North Carolina situation at a 2016 press conference.

Let's not forget, either, how voice after NBA voice expressed fawning admiration for Jason Collins, who announced he was homosexual as he was in the process of retiring. Those actions by the NBA endeared it forever to LGBT fascists.

Further evidence of the NBA's progressive DNA is offered as:

"Over the years, NBA athletes have also taken stands against racism. In 2012 Miami Heat players wore hoodies in honor of Trayvon Martin, and one year later, teams dressed in 'I can’t breathe' warm-up shirts, in observance of the final words uttered by Eric Garner, a black man, as he was choked to death by a white NYPD detective.

"Before and after Silver’s first months on the job, the league has taken progressive stands on political issues, racial justice issues, and gender issues. Head coaches have openly and unapologetically bashed President Trump."

Dr. Richard Lapchick, founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, has praised the NBA for understanding that diversity is "a moral imperative.” The league was the first among its peers to conceptualize diversity and inclusion as “business imperatives,” Lapchick said.

Nonetheless, progressives must hold their applause. It seems to Foote that the NBA "is not as progressive as it seems."

The NBA has indeed capitalized on socially conscious consumerism. "But they have done so while simultaneously cracking down on marijuana, a drug decriminalized or even legal in many states," Foote writes."

"There is no reason why the NBA can’t loosen its restrictions on marijuana, end its shameful cooperation with the Chinese government, and update its anthem policy."

Foote calls the NBA’s marijuana policy “the harshest in North American professional sports,” according to a new report by ESPN. Players who test positive for marijuana must enter a rehab program. A second positive test nets a fine of $25,000. Then, each violation results in a five-game suspension.

The NBA's pathetic response to China last fall deserves condemnation from all political quarters. The league swallowed its collective tongue to put profit over principle instead of standing tall for the freedom fighters in Hong Kong protesting Chinese tyranny. The NBA "kowtowed to the Chinese government in the interest of preserving its business partnerships," Foote writes.

Let me add the name of LeBron James to "Team Kowtow." He's among the league's foremost social justice warriors, but his usually active tongue got tied at the thought of speaking up for freedom and risk losing millions in Chinese revenue.

That's not progressive, in Foote's view. "Add that report to the league’s stance on national anthem protests, which is more strict than the NFL’s."

So there you have it. That image before you of a progressive NBA is just a mirage, and the league needs to upgrade its progressive portfolio.