Charles Barkley claims that those who criticize the NBA for not taking a stance on China are hypocrites (and worse). He says people ripped Colin Kaepernick for taking a stance on race relations and the police in America, yet want the NBA and its players to take positions about what happens in a foreign country.
Barkley is wide of the mark.
First, Kaepernick was ripped not for taking a position on race and the police, but rather for refusing to respect our National Anthem. I haven’t heard anyone say that NBA officials or players should kneel when the Chinese anthem is played, or otherwise disrespect China’s symbols. They shouldn’t kowtow to China, though.
Similarly, I don’t think anyone is asking NBA players in general to rip China. For example, I haven’t heard anyone criticize Bradley Beal, star of the Washington Wizards, for not talking about China.
The criticism of which I’m aware covers two cases: (1) players and other NBA personnel who, like James Harden, kowtow to China and (2) players and other NBA personnel who, like Steve Kerr, are quick to rip the U.S. for offenses against human rights, real or imagined, that pale in comparison to what goes on in China, but who are silent about China.
These are the hypocrites, not those who point out their hypocrisy.
In Kerr’s case, he was silent initially, but when pressed for comment drew a moral equivalency between the U.S. and China on human rights. He thus moved beyond hypocrisy into useful idiocy.
Kerr is an intelligent, well-educated man. But from now on, no one should ever take anything he says about politics or world affairs seriously.
It won’t be easy to take Charles Barkley seriously on such matters, either.