Professional sports were put on hold earlier this year as the Wuhan coronavirus made its way over from China. The silver lining of it all was that at least patriotic Americans wouldn't have to suffer through millionaire athletes disrespecting the country that made their decadent lifestyles possible by kneeling every time the national anthem came on. Well, that silver lining has ended as professional sports are now returning and more ungrateful players than ever are taking a knee in order to show their disdain for the country.
The first game of the NBA returned on Thursday in a matchup between the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans. Every player, coach, and even the referee took a knee as the national anthem began to play. The players wore shirts with the words "Black Lives Matter" emblazoned on the front.
Every player, coach and ref takes a knee during the national anthem before the Pelicans-Jazz game pic.twitter.com/LZy1A6s8VM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 30, 2020
The NBA is less supportive of the idea that Chinese lives matter. The NBA has been working to build a fan base in China while ignoring the country's apocryphal record when it comes to human rights abuses. Writing for ESPN, Henry Bushnell summed up the NBA's silence, which Bushnell says only "enables and legitimizes oppression."
"[The NBA] ran an abusive basketball academy in a police state where Muslims are interned in concentration camps. When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong last October, and the Chinese government attacking democratic freedoms in Hong Kong bristled, the NBA moved swiftly to salvage its relationship with that government. The league’s most prominent figures, from LeBron James to Steve Kerr, didn’t rush to condemn injustice, as they had so often in the past and have so often since. Instead, they either criticized Morey, or remained conspicuously silent. Officials, in some cases, stepped in to silence them."
Major League Baseball games also returned recently, and there too players are kneeling in droves. Players in the WNBA, technically a professional sports league, simply walked off the court as the national anthem came on at a recent game. WNBA players plan to do this for the remainder of the season.
If Colin Kaepernick's kneeling brought down ratings for the entire NFL, imagine what every player kneeling might do to the ratings of all professional sports. One can only hope.