Texas Monthly: Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke Are Both Pretty Disgusted About the NBA Pandering to China

News|10.7.19

On Friday, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted on Twitter about his support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that have resulted in violent clashes with police during the last four months. “Fight for Freedom,” Morey wrote. “Stand with Hong Kong.”

That’s hardly incendiary political rhetoric, yet the statement provoked the Chinese Basketball Association to suspend its partnership with the Rockets—one of the country’s most popular NBA teams since Yao Ming was a star in Houston—and Tencent, the NBA’s digital partner in China, announced it would end media coverage of the team. That’s a big deal for a league that sees major growth opportunity in the Chinese market, and it’s made even one of the league’s best GMs potentially expendable.

The list of things that Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke agree on is short, but the idea that the NBA should be standing by Morey is right at the top. At a time at which Americans are so deeply divided that we can’t even agree on Willie Nelson anymore, the fact that Cruz and O’Rourke offered nearly identical responses to the NBA’s handling of the situation could almost be seen as a cause for celebration. Apparently we do still share some common values, even in our hyper-polarized times!

Unfortunately, American companies likewise seem eerily unified in heeding Beijing’s wishes when there’s big money involved. Last year, the Gap issued an obsequious apology to the nation for selling a t-shirt that showed a map only of mainland China, omitting the disputed territories of Tibet and Taiwan; all of the t-shirts were destroyed. Delta, Zara, Marriott, Versace, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Coach, and Givenchy likewise have all issued similar apologies.

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