Vice President Pence Criticizes NBA, Nike Over Hong Kong Controversy
The NBA has faced backlash from Shanghai and Washington alike over how it handled a manager's tweet about Hong Kong.
Vice President Mike Pence criticized the NBA and Nike on Thursday. He said it's "un-American" for the companies to "embrace censorship" in regard to how the league handled a tweet about Hong Kong by the Houston Rockets' GM.
"Some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of other peoples. In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of that authoritarian regime," Pence said.
Earlier this month, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. The NBA faced immediate outrage from China, which cut all ties with the Rockets and temporarily suspended NBA broadcasts.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stood by Morey, saying the league supports its members' freedom of expression. But he also urged the NBA's Chinese partners to remember their three-decade relationship and set up meetings in Shanghai. What's more, some players, including LeBron James, have voiced concerns about the potential financial loss Morey's tweet could have caused.
At the same time, the NBA has faced backlash from Washington. China's a major revenue source for the NBA, and lawmakers accused league officials of valuing money over freedom after it continued to host games in China. Vice President Pence says the NBA and Nike are ignoring the country's human rights abuses.
He said Nike "promotes itself as a so called 'social-justice champion,'" but "when it comes to Hong Kong, it prefers checking its social conscience at the door." Pence referred to Nike stores in China removing Houston Rockets merchandise in support of the Chinese government.
Pence also addressed Hong Kong protesters, who are demanding more independence from China and an end to police brutality, among other things.
"To the millions in Hong Kong who have been peacefully protesting to protect your rights these past months: We stand with you. We are inspired by you. And we urge you to stay on the path of non-violent protest."
This story contains exclusive footage obtained by Newsy from Megumi Lim.
United flight turns around after fire in cabin
Four passengers were treated for smoke inhalation and two others declined treatment after a fire erupted from an external battery pack.By AP
Would high speed rail work in the US?
Overseas, the concept is already reality. While the U.S. was in the throes of building highways, Japan opened the world’s first high-speed railway.By Rich Pedroncelli / AP
Nonprofit works to protect Black and Native American burial sites
Indigenous Memories is a nonprofit working to preserve the "land, history and legacy of those who came before us."By Scripps News
A Syrian American couple helps with aid after deadly earthquake
A Syrian American couple are now leading relief efforts in the aftermath of one of the deadliest earthquakes of the century.By Emrah Gurel / AP
Is the fashion industry living up to promises of size inclusivity?
This edition of the "Better Beauty" explores why the fashion industry seems so slow to reflect a wider range of body types in clothing sizes.By AP
Report: Health care spending is up, Americans are dying younger
A public health expert says the U.S. needs to spend money on health care that helps American lifespans.By San Francisco Chronicle / AP