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The NBA's Genuflection Tour

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Good morning!

What did you mean by that?

It’s inevitable. Wokeness will trigger outrage over   . . . anything.

Expressing support for self-determination, even.

Especially if there's money's on the table.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey is doing the Genuflection Tour for having had the effrontery to express support for exactly that - for the people of Hong Kong.

“Fight for Freedom,” he tweeted. “Stand With Hong Kong.”

This offended the authoritarian heavies running the Chinese government on the mainland -  who are very much opposed to the desire of Hong People’s people for the freedom to not be absorbed into the mainland and live under the thumb of the authoritarian heavies who run the mainland.

Hong Kong has been independent of mainland China - and the communists who control it - since the end of World War II. The former British colony is supposed to remain independent of the mainland until at least 2047 under the terms of a deal with the Chinese communists, who agreed to a policy of “one country, two systems.”

But 2047 isn't soon enough, apparently, for the heavies - who are in something of a hurry.  They want to absorb Hong Kong right away.


The mainland heavies don't just want the island. They want its people. And they're taking them . . . with the help of Hong Kong's increasingly henpecked government, which is caving in to the enormous pressure being applied by the presence - literally next door - of those Chinese heavies.

Under something called the Fugitive Offenders law, people are being "extradited" - black-bagged - off the streets of Hong Kong and taking them back to the mainland  . . . there to learn the proper attitude toward the heavies.

Morey’s tweet objected to this.

And then the Chinese heavies objected to him. But instead of standing with Morey, the NBA got heavy. Because China is big business for the NBA. Lots of money is on the table - and the Chinese heavies threatened to take it off.

China's state-run TV network said it would not show Rockets games as punishment for Morey's tweet and Tencent - a Chinese-run "media partner" of the NBA -  suspended a streaming deal worth $1.5 billion over the next five years.

Chinese athletic apparel giant Li-Ning said it was "upset" with Morey.

And so the NBA quickly labeled his tweet “regrettable” and "deeply offensive."

It did not explain why.

It did channel the ghost of Neville Chamberlain - through NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass - who released an embarrassingly servile statement which said that the league has " . . .great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”

Not quite peace in our time . . . but close.

The NBA is even ejecting fans who dare to offend the Chinese - in America. The Philly Inquirer reports that Sixers fan Sam Wachs was ejected from the Wells Fargo Center earlier this week during an exhibition game between the Sixers and the Guangzhou Loong-Lions  . . . for holding a sign expressing support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta also threw Morey under the bus, publicly disassociating himself and the team from Morey.

Over money.

Which apparently trumps everything. Including Morey's self-respect.

Morey - wanting to remain employed by the Rockets - performed the required genuflection.

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey hair-shirted. "I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives."

And then:

“I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.”

He might have followed the manly example of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who responded in an entirely different way to being pressured by the heavies running mainland China. Who pulled every South Park episode off the air and vacuumed every online discussion, clip and link to or about South Park from the Internet in China  ... as retaliation for South Park's mocking of the heavies who run the mainland.

Parker and Stone didn't suit up for the Genuflection Tour. They did what Morey and the NBA should have done.

They gave the Chinese heavies the finger - but much more cleverly.

"Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts," the pair wrote in a hilarious and important statement released shortly after Morey's obsequious one. "We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi (Jinping, the head Chinese heavy) doesn't look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now, China?"

This may cost South Park some money - but it earned its creators something of infinitely more value.

Their self-respect.

A.J. Rice is CEO of Publius PR, a premiere communications firm in Washington D.C. Rice is a brand manager, star-whisperer and auteur media influencer, who has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump Jr., Monica Crowley, Charles Krauthammer, George P. Bush, Roger L. Simon, Steve Hilton, Victor Davis Hanson, and many others. Find out more at publiuspr.com 

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