Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has been transcendent as a GM on the court, but he’s also exposed a fallacy that the NBA is all about social activism.
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey is viewed as one of the best General Managers in the league, for many reasons. For starters, he has always been able to uncover loopholes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and has managed to help the Rockets dodge the luxury tax despite being a legitimate contender on the basketball court.
Off the court, Morey has recently made headlines, as Morey has faced a backlash following his tweet over the weekend, in which he supported Hong Kong in seeking their independence from China. At this point, many would say Morey should just “stick to basketball” which is fair to say, but with the platform basketball presents, it’s hard to blame Morey for using it to voice views on social issues.
What’s gotten lost is the fact that Morey was justifiably right in speaking out against communism and supporting democracy. Yet somehow it’s been four days since Morey’s now deleted tweet and Morey has been the only person in the NBA to speak on this particular issue regarding the rejection of individual rights of the Hong Kong citizens by the Chinese authoritarian rule.
This is interesting considering the NBA has never distanced itself from social issues, especially not recently. LeBron James and the Miami Heat did a protest to voice their support of the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012, in which they took a team photo with hoodies on and their hands in their pockets. This was a follow-up to Dwyane Wade‘s photo he posted to social media with a hoodie on as well regarding the same incident.
James’s speaking out on social issues doesn’t end there, as he’s been very vocal in his criticism of President Donald Trump, which James has the freedom to speak on. In 2016, James, Wade, and former Rockets Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony actually started ESPN’s ESPY awards requesting an end to racial injustice, police brutality and gun violence in America, which was also a freedom they each had the ability to express their views on.
Yet James has been quiet regarding the Hong Kong situation in which the Chinese authoritarian rule has limited the freedoms of the masses in Hong Kong, which seems like something important enough to speak out about IF James was really all about driving change and putting an end to social issues.
In addition, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has also been very outspoken about his views on Donald Trump, amongst many other things. Yet Popovich, who actually offered praise on the manner in which commissioner Adam Silver handled this situation regarding Morey, still did not speak on the actual issue Morey was raising awareness around.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been vocal in his support of many things, ranging from LGBTQ advocacy to women’s equal rights advocacy to essentially anything on the political docket, including also his dislike for Trump. Despite this, Kerr has yet to say anything regarding the deprival of freedoms in Hong Kong by the Chinese rule. In fact, Kerr actually opted not to say anything regarding the matter at all, courtesy of Anthony Slater of the Athletic.
Steve Kerr no comments on the Morey/China/NBA situation. Says he’s been reading about it, doesn’t feel versed enough to comment. Full back and forth here. pic.twitter.com/HM1NuF46vG
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 8, 2019
This is a complete reversal from the outspoken activist Kerr has depicted himself to be.
Altogether, this seems rather surprising considering the current landscape of the NBA, in which the stars of the league have realized their voice and their platform regarding social issues, yet we’ve not heard a peep from anyone other than Morey about this particular issue between Hong Kong and China.
The greater issue behind this fiasco is the fact that the NBA has revealed it doesn’t really have a culture of “activism” and awareness of social issues. As we previously wrote, commissioner Adam Silver is now claiming to have Morey’s support and to be on his side. However if the league was all about freedom of expression and honoring individual’s rights, Silver would have been on Morey’s side from the very start, which was far from the case.
It’ll be interesting to see if any of the league’s “activists” have anything to say about the situation in Hong Kong, but it would be wise not to hold your breath and wait for it, as they’ve had more than enough time if they were ever going to.