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Lebron jersey burning
Pro-democracy protestors burn the jersey of LeBron James immediately after the NBA superstar appeared to side with the Chinese government.

The NBA discovered itself facing an unprecedented international PR crisis this previous weekend immediately after Daryl Morey, an executive from the Houston Rockets, tweeted a message in assistance of the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. The retaliation from the Chinese government was quick – tv broadcasters canceled their contracts overnight, and retailers pulled NBA merchandise from their retailers.

In a bid to quit the bleeding, the league promptly scrambled to apologize to the Chinese government and its fans overseas, calling the tweet “unfortunate.” But that hardly helped matters at household. Critics in the U.S. erupted immediately after reading this milquetoast response, with quite a few accusing the league of kowtowing to corporate interests and safeguarding its overseas income streams rather of standing up for civil rights. 

Just when the story seemed to have blown more than, LeBron James – probably basketball’s most renowned player and the face of the NBA – held a press conference exactly where he chided Morey for the tweet and implied that the executive was “uneducated” on matters in China.

The backlash to this ham-handed statement verberated all through each the sports and the political planet, with fans and speaking heads uniting to denounce James for siding with an authoritarian government. On the streets of Hong Kong, protestors burned Lebron James jerseys in the streets.

The Plight of the Uighurs

1 challenge repeatedly raised by these important of China:
religious freedom. Despite the fact that it hasn’t gotten as considerably media interest as the
Hong Kong protests, there are presently 11 million Uighur Muslims living in a
de facto police state in western China.

These ethnically Turkic Muslim men and women have been
systematically persecuted by China’s secular government leaders, forced to
endure continuous surveillance, and warned against practicing their religion.
More than a single million Uighurs have been placed in “re-education camps,” which
sources inside the nation have described primarily as concentration camps.
Handful of have been heard from because becoming detained.

A frequent champion for civil rights problems in the U.S., the NBA is curiously refusing to take a stand on clear situations of injustice in a single of its most lucrative markets – top fans and analysts alike to point out the hypocrisy of this deafening silence.

What do you consider? Must the NBA be undertaking additional to stand up for civil rights abroad, such as these of religious minority groups like the Uighurs? Or are they, as a private corporation, entitled to make a decision which civil rights problems to get involved with and which to leave alone?

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