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.
U.S. Law Enforcement Bust 27 People Connected to Mexican Sinaloa Cartel
Over two dozen people were arrested on drug charges in connection to a Mexican cartel smuggling cocaine into the U.S. Following a two-year investigation, 27 people were arrested through Operation Tripwire, an investigation effort U.S. officials have been working on featuring members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The trafficking network went from Los Angeles, California to Tucson, Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where cocaine originating from Mexico was smuggled stateside. The United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady declared “this is a large organization that was trafficking hundreds of kilograms of cocaine throughout the country and has direct ties to the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.”
U.S. authorities recounted that the investigations started after an agent in Pittsburgh was able to identify an address that received large quantities of suspicious-looking packages coming from California. Since then, agents started to do investigation on other members of the network across the U.S.
Across the span of seven months, authorities were able to intercept U.S. calls made by some of the alleged traffickers with Sinaloa carte leaders in Mexico. On September 9, 2020, 27 were arrested in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania.
According to American authorities, $1.3 million in cash and over 140 kilograms of cocaine were seized. The aforementioned people arrested are now facing a prison sentence of between 10 years and life in prison.
The border situation is no joke. Prior administrations have largely neglected the issue and have allowed for unprecedented levels of illegal immigration and drug trafficking to cross the U.S. border.
In a prior instance, BLP reported on how Mexico is a failed state that cannot maintain public order and is largely being pushed around by cartels. Due to its proximity to the U.S., Mexico’s problems will likely spillover stateside.
This is why border security is crucial. Thankfully, the U.S. has a president in Donald Trump that gets the memo. He’ll still need help from Congress, however,
That’s why it’s crucial that America First Republicans have strong showings at all branches of government in 2020.
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