On Thursday, a Houston Rockets media relations official cut off a reporter’s questions to NBA stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook during a growing controversy involving the NBA and China.
Alykhan Bijani, a Houston Rockets reporter for The Athletic, posted a video on Twitter of CNN’s Christina Macfarlane probing Harden and Westbrook. She asked them specifically if they “would feel differently about speaking out” about foreign policy issues in the future because of the backlash they received this week. Numerous NBA players and coaches appeared distraught when answering China-related questions, which President Trump correctly attacked them for.
Although Harden and Westbrook looked like they were ready to awkwardly respond to the journalist’s questions, the spokesperson intervened immediately and informed Macfarlane that only basketball questions were going to be allowed. The spokesperson added that the question was already answered earlier this week, which provoked a response from Macfarlane saying that it was a “legitimate question.”
The NBA-China drama started when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made a tweet in support of protesters in Hong Kong. This topic has been occupying Harden’s attention throughout the week and he claims that Morey’s tweet hasn’t been a distraction, according to a report from The Athletic.
“It’s not a distraction,” Harden said Tuesday. “We’re focusing on our team and getting better. We’re glad to see Russ [Westbrook] back out there on the basketball court. Our sole focus is on the Rockets and how we can get better every single day.”
Harden apologized to China for Morey’s tweet earlier this week.
“We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there. For both of us, individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love,” he stated. “We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization.”
In Thursday’s news conference, Macfarlane also asked coach Mike D’Antoni if he had anything to say to Chinese fans who may have been disappointed by the NBA’s response to Morey’s tweet.
“You know what, it’s a tough situation,” D’Antoni claimed. “It’s very difficult. Adam Silver speaks for the NBA. I work for the NBA. I go with Adam…Commissioner Silver will do the right thing. You can’t answer questions like that because you’re wrong no matter what. I’m here to speak basketball. Talk basketball. Whatever I say is not right…I coach basketball, I’m not a diplomat or around the world.”
The NBA’s recent drama goes beyond a corporate messaging squabble. It raises questions about the influence China potentially has over U.S. corporations, and by extension, U.S. culture.
China recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of its modern-day founding, which has been filled with mass murder and totalitarianism. Although, the country made pragmatic economic reforms in the 1980s, it still lags behind in terms of political reforms. Additionally, China’s trade practices raise questions about its faithfulness to international law and its overall intentions as a geopolitical actor.
For that reason, Donald Trump’s election has made America reconsider U.S.-China trade relations and find a way to reform trade between the two countries so that both countries benefit and not have to worry about the unintended consequences of poorly-constructed trade deals.
Black Rifle Coffee Does Not Support Second Amendment Hero Kyle Rittenhouse
At this Time, Cons
Black Rifle Coffee, a coffee company based in Salt Lake City, is not defending 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.
The company said that it was against a tweet that Blaze Media reporter, Elijah Schaeffer, posted that featured Rittenhouse wearing a Black Rifle Coffee Company shirt captioned “Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America.” Rittenhouse was released on November 20, 2020 after supporters were able to raise $2 million for his bail.
In the tweet, Schaeffer posted a discount code for the coffee. Sara Tabin of The Salt Lake Tribune noted that online Twitter users “questioned whether the coffee company had a sponsorship deal with Rittenhouse and accused it of supporting murder and hate.”
This prompted Black Rifle Coffee, the sponsor of the Slightly Offens*ve podcast, to release a statement on November 21 declaring that it is not sponsoring or supporting Rittenhouse.
Initially, there was a misunderstanding about the company withdrawing its sponsorship of Slightly Offens*ve. However, a spokesperson for the company told the Salt Lake Tribune on November 21 that “We are not fluctuating our ad spend.” The coffee spokesperson added “We did have a conversation with Schaffer, and he understands that the post was a mistake.”
She stressed, “We don’t traffic in national tragedy and to us, that’s what this is. We are not legal experts or members of law enforcement. We fully support all law enforcement officials and believe in the integrity of the legal system.”
The spokesperson reiterated that the company will maintain its sponsorship of Blaze Media. She explained: “Our concern is that use of the discount code in the post did not reflect our values. That’s a concern we’ve addressed with the journalist and that he understands.”
Blaze employees “make decisions about how to allocate ad dollars within the Blaze,” she remarked. Although the spokesperson did not go into further detail about the company’s status as a podcast sponsor, it noted that the coffee company and the Blaze are in talks about “how to move forward with the allocation of ad dollars.”
Black Rifle Coffee positions itself as a pro-Second Amendment, conservative company that was founded by veterans. Black Rifle Coffee co-founder Evan Hafer released a statement on November 21 declaring that “We do not support legal advocacy efforts. We do not sponsor nor do we have a relationship with the 17-year-old facing charges in Kenosha, WI.”
At the moment, Rittenhouse is facing two counts of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a Black Lives Matter riot back in August. In addition, he’s being charged with one count of being a minor in possession of a firearm. During the riots, Rittenhouse was attacked by Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse was carrying an AR-style rifle as he was walking down the street to protect private property from looters.
It is disappointing to see supposedly pro-Second Amendment businesses fold to the mob. Although the Left is very effective at mass politics and causing certain businesses to get cancelled, some businesses will have to take a stand. Submission to these radicals only encourages them to become bolder in their attacks.
Can Americans actually grow a spine for once?
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