How Adam Silver, Gregg Popovich, and Steve Kerr Highlight NBA Hypocrisy
Last year, Marc Lacey asked Adam Silver, “how does it feel to be the wokest professional sports league?” Silver responded simply, “…we’re proud of that.” It was a dumb, leading question at the time, and Silver’s answer has aged like warm milk. The league that fancies itself as a bastion of progressivism is actually what it should be; a capitalistic entity only worried about the bottom line. The NBA spent the last few years allowing its players and coaches to take the mantle of progressivism and rail against American history, traditional American values and spread outright lies without fear of retribution or pushback. But when the bottom line is at stake, now NBA hypocrisy rears its head.
But what is NBA hypocrisy? NBA hypocrisy is barring Charlotte from hosting the NBA All-Star for two years because it did not agree with Charlotte’s “bathroom bill.” Even if the people of Charlotte were the ones to vote for it. If the NBA disagrees, it will ram down its values down your throat. When the NBA holds power, the NBA sees no problem wielding it like a… tyrant. NBA hypocrisy is saying it has no problem with its players voicing their political opinions (freedom of speech: yay) even when propagating what we now know to be verifiably false narratives (boo).
But NBA hypocrisy is different than most other sports because it creeps into the coaching ranks. Two of the most outspoken coaches in the professional ranks are the NBA’s Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich. “Pop” can go on and on about the evils of the Second Amendment and not a single reporter will challenge anything he says. Even if he peddles the same blissfully ignorant takes found nightly on your average CNN broadcast. Ask him about Adam Silver’s lame initial press release about China and Popovich sees Silver as a real “courageous… leader.” Which is kind of like thinking an alcoholic in the middle of bender would make a great Uber driver.
While Pop’s comments are confounding given Silver’s fish-out-of-water flip-flopping on the China issue, they pale in comparison to the utter stupidity that is Steve Kerr’s comments. Many players in the NB–and many NBA reporters–see Kerr as someone that “speaks truth to power.” So what Truth does Steve Kerr speak when asked about China’s Human Rights abuses?
Steve Kerr on if he’s ever been asked about human rights during his previous trips to China:
“No. Nor has (America’s) record of human rights abuses come up either… People in China didn’t ask me about, you know, people owning AR-15s and mowing each other down in a mall.” pic.twitter.com/56mNC7LmID
— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) October 11, 2019
This is one of the worst answers any person can give on the subject. Not only is this “whataboutism” to the nth degree, but Kerr is picking the one topic–the Second Amendment–that is the perfect solution to a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment was explicitly created to be a bulwark against an authoritative and murderous government. It gives power to the powerless and allows downtrodden minority groups to defend themselves. I.e. if China is oppressing the people of Hong Kong, it would serve them well to have a viable means of defense.
China though is committing almost unimaginable horrors against its own population. The Chinese government has detained more than a million Uighur Muslims and sent them off to “re-education camps,” which are actually concentration camps. This is happening all within the last two years. Muslims detained and sent to concentration camps merely for being Muslim. But that is not the worst of it; detainees are having their organs harvested like China is some bad B-Horror Movie villain.
It is one of the worst human rights abuses in modern history, but Steve “Speak Truth to Power” Kerr would rather talk about AR-15s and people getting “mowed down in malls” than answer the question at hand. Nobody ever wants to mention to Kerr that “about one-tenth of one percent of homicides were produced by mass shootings involving AR-15s,” over the last decade. Or that the number of lives saved because of guns is astronomical. Or more to the point for China, have Kerr try to explain why the Uighur Muslims would not benefit from the tools of the Second Amendment. But then again, Kerr is just the latest example of NBA hypocrisy.
NBA Hypocrisy Does the Impossible: Get Left and Right to Agree
Just how bad is NBA hypocrisy? Both the left and right in American politics agree the NBA’s response to China is Pathetic. Here is Cory Booker:
What’s often lauded as the most progressive major sports league in the country is quickly cowering to an authoritarian regime in the name of profits. You can’t stand on principle only when it’s convenient. https://t.co/GgM4tlN2Ba
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 11, 2019
Compare that to Marc Rubio:
They allow #China to punish a U.S. citizen for free speech in order to protect NBA’s market access in China.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
Or Ted Cruz and… Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Yup. The NBA’s stance on China is so terrible, Adam Silver and the NBA have done the impossible; bridge the gap in American politics between the left and right side of the aisle. Those four politicians agree on pretty much NOTHING! And yet, they all agree the NBA–with Silver, Popovich, and Kerr at the helm–are acting so despicable in the face of Chinese pressure that they need to set aside their differences in order to call out the NBA. The bottom line is this; if you have done something so blatantly awful both the left and right agree it was bad, you might want to rethink your stance.
NBA hypocrisy should come as no surprise. Believing in one’s values when they are not questioned and they do not harm the bottom line is easy. When they are challenged is when things get tough. For the NBA–a league that was fine to bask in the applause and adulation of progressive crowds for years without any pushback–to now start feeling the wrath from everyone is to be expected. The NBA was progressive because it helped fill their coffers.
Now their progressive commissioner, players, and coaches are all silent against an obviously despicable regime because they were merely masquerading as progressives. For all the grumping and groaning they did about the horrors of modern-day America, when push comes to shove they are capitalists worried about money. This is NBA hypocrisy at its finest; while they rail against traditional American values at home, overseas, they are just as–if not more–American than anybody else. Money is King and the NBA is just a pawn for China.