Pence Blasts NBA, Nike in Reference to Hong Kong Protests




We ran the numbers: There are 1105 news articles covering this topic. 31% (346) are left leaning, 47% (524) center, 21% (235) right leaning.

On Thursday, during a speech at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C, Vice President harshly criticized both the NBA and Nike for their actions regarding China amidst the protests in Hong Kong.

Pence accused the NBA of “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of China’s Communist Party.” His comments came after a tweet earlier this month from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey that said, “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” 

Additionally, Pence took aim at Nike for their attempts to pacify China by “checking its social conscience at the door” following China’s reaction to Morey’s tweet. 

The vice president’s criticism of the pro basketball league are the harshest from the Trump administration since the NBA essentially apologized for Morey’s tweet. 

In response to Morey’s tweet regarding China -- one of the NBA’s biggest markets -- an NBA spokesman said Morey’s views “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.” Nearly all of the NBA’s Chinese partners ended or suspended their dealings with the league in the days following Morey’s tweet.

A left-leaning article published by The New York Times outlines Vice President Pence’s stance on the U.S.’ current relationship with China. According to the article, Pence said that while the U.S. does not seek any confrontation with the country, it is fully supportive of the protesters in Hong Kong. The Times reports that Pence said the U.S. does not want to “de-couple” from its main economic rival but in reference to the Hong Kong protesters he said, “We stand with you, we are inspired by you. We urge you to stay on the path of non-violent protest.” Additionally, the article reported that Pence repeated several times that President Trump is willing to start a new future with China despite its differences the U.S.

NPR’s centrist article details Pence’s comments toward both the NBA and Nike while also alluding to potential ramifications of trade dealings with China if the regime does not show restraint toward the protesters in Hong Kong. According to the article, Pence said, “Some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China.” Pence also urged restraint from the Chinese government, saying “it would be much harder for us to make a trade deal if the authorities resort to the use of violence against protesters in Hong Kong.”

The Washington Times published a right-leaning article highlighting Pence’s criticisms of the authoritarian regimes. The article reports that -- in his speech on Thursday -- Pence accused the Chinese government of stealing intellectual property, deploying mass surveillance, violating the rights of minority Uighurs, interfering in the South China Sea and allowing deadly fentanyl to flow to the U.S. Additionally, Pence noted that past administrations have enabled Chinese relations to reach such a poor standard. He said, “The political establishment was not only silent in the face of China’s economic aggression and human rights abuses, but enabled them.”