LeBron James has been silent on the matter of China throwing a massive temper tantrum over Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeting and deleting a limp slogan in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. With the NBA spasming and losing bowel control around him, the world’s most visible basketball player managed to go more than a week without so much as uttering a “no comment” on record, which is no small feat. LeBron broke that silence Monday night, and in a way that perfectly captures the NBA’s own queasy, craven, profit-driven equivocation on the subject.
“We all talk about this freedom of speech—yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative, that can happen, um, when you’re not thinking about others, or you’re only thinking about yourself. So, I don’t believe—I don’t want to get into a word or a sentence feud with Daryl, with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet, what we say, and what we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.”
At first blush it sounds very much like LeBron bought into Joseph Tsai’s bullshit—probably because it’s a convenient way of avoiding commenting directly on the conflict between protestors and the Chinese government—and when he says “educated,” he means that Morey is not sufficiently knowledgeable about the Qing dynasty to have feelings about Hong Kong protestors having their eyeballs shot out by cops. Just to reiterate the point, you absolutely do not need to know any Chinese history whatsoever to support the prerogative of citizens of a semi-autonomous state to resist authoritarian rule. For that matter, Daryl Morey could have a PhD in Chinese History and have