Apple has no problem being woke, except when it might cost the company billions of dollars. Apple removed an app, called HKmap.live, from the app store after it received criticism from the Chinese government. People’s Daily, the Chinese state newspaper, wrote a piece on Oct. 8 criticizing Apple. Two days later, Apple pulled the app down, saying it “threatens public safety.” Quartz Investigative editor John Keefe reported that Apple also took down the Quartz app in China.
The recent Chinese/NBA debacle is a time of reckoning for folks who take athlete activism seriously. In the past, superstar Golden State Warrior captain Stephen Curry has been quite vocal about status quo lefty politics and his hatred for Donald Trump, but like his coward coach, Steve Kerr, the outspoken can’t star seem to find an answer when asked about actual oppression from the NBA’s business partner, the communist Chinese government.
The NBA sure talks a good game about free speech rights ― out of one side of its collective mouth. Amidst China's seething anger over Houston general manager Daryl Morey expressing support for freedom in Hong Kong, NBA commissioner Adam Silver mildly defended the American's free speech rights. But on Tuesday night, two fans were ejected from an NBA exhibition game in Philadelphia for peacefully protesting against China. Talk about inconsistency.
Unlike some other businesses and corporations, South Park and Comedy Central aren't afraid of offending Communist China. In fact, they doubled down in Wednesday night's episode "SHOTS!!!" by having a major character shout, "[Bleep] the Chinese government!"
Video game industry legend Mark Kern disavowed Blizzard for kowtowing to Chinese censorship, encouraging gamers to “rise up” and “#BoycottBlizzard.” Kern, who grew up in Asia, was involved in some of Blizzard Entertainment’s most famous games. He worked as a producer for demon-slaying epic “Diablo 2” and as a team lead on “World of Warcraft.”
Remember way back in 2018 when “Shut up and dribble” was a horrible thing to say to millionaire athletes who are paid to, er, dribble? Times sure have changed. (Or maybe the phrase sounds better said with a Chinese accent?) Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock remembers that too, which is why he said on Speak for Yourself Tuesday, “The NBA is strangling on its own hypocrisy.” He was speaking, of course, about the league’s (and numerous coaches’ and players’) craven ducking and covering.
The NBA isn't the only organization drawing criticism for the China-Daryl Morey controversy. ESPN now looks like the Worldwide Leader In Sports Compromisers, as its television commentators treat the controversy with kid gloves. Deadspin's Laura Wagner points out that ESPN has a working agreement with Tencent, a large Chinese internet company that covers the NBA, and may not want to anger its partners.
Tuesday’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Washington Post print edition ran a strongly-worded editorial condemning the supposedly woke NBA for showing more interest in pleasuring the murderous Chinese regime than defending freedom. But there’s a catch to all this in that The Post’s sales department has exhibited a penchant for periodically offering an insert entitled “China Watch,” which is produced by the English-language communist mouthpiece China Daily.
CBS This Morning on Tuesday lectured viewers that companies should be prepared to “check” “American principles” “at the door” in order to do business in China. While liberal journalists often react with fury at perceived assaults on the First Amendment, the NBA capitulating to the communist country resulted in a collective shrug. CBS Sports analyst Bill Reiter demanded, “Whatever American principles you bring to the table, including free speech, you check that at the door if you want to do business with China.”
One would have presumed that woke, anti-Trump NBA coach Steve Kerr would be making a stand against all things authoritarian. After all, he’s one of the bigger virtue-signallers in the sports world. Yet when faced with the actual fascism of China policing the speech of his American colleagues, the Golden State Warriors coach has nothing at all to say. Maybe it’s just a lefty’s residual soft spot for communists, or maybe some big money is at stake.
Another American company bowed to Chinese censorship in order to protect their bottom line. Blizzard Entertainment found itself in the same hot water as the NBA about China. The computer gaming firm, famous for titles such as “World of Warcraft” and “Starcraft,” has publicly announced a one-year suspension as of Oct. 8 for a professional video game player Chung Ng-wai, better known as Blitzchung. His crime? Shouting a Hong Kong protest slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!”
ABC’s World News Tonight was the only broadcast network evening newscast to completely ignore the sweeping and bipartisan outrage against the NBA for their kowtow to communist China’s totalitarian censorship policies. That news blackout came after their Good Morning America segment which boosted Chinese outrage at Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey for daring to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Of course, ABC is own by Disney, who routinely submits themselves to China’s censorship.