NFL Executive: ‘Woke’ NBA ‘Hoisted By Its Own Political Petard’

Given all the heat being directed at the NBA for essentially placating China to keep the yuan flowing, the higher-ups at the NFL must be thanking the heavens for now being able to point across the pond and say, “See, we’re not as bad as those people.”
One NFL executive, who wished to remain anonymous, told Front Office Sports last Friday that the NBA basically positioned themselves for this level of scorn given how much effort they have taken to appear “woke” – efforts that far exceed even the NFL.
“I love seeing the ‘woke’ NBA hoisted by its own political petard,” the executive told the outlet.
Jeff Diamond, former NFL executive of the year with the Minnesota Vikings, had a different take and suggested he does not believe that the NFL stands to gain by the NBA’s controversy.
“I don’t know who in the NFL had a persecution complex about the NBA,” said Diamond.  “But I never felt that way when I was involved with the league. So I can’t necessarily speak to that issue.”
As noted by Front Office Sports, Andrew Brandt, a former Green Bay Packers executive, wrote in Sports Illustrated that the NBA will have a difficult time maintaining moral authority in the political arena so long as it appears to be favoring China over the free expression of Americans. 
“The problem with the NBA is that it now presents as a company where players and coaches speak willingly on political issues when it is ‘safe’ to do so, yet clam up when it is bad for business,” wrote Brandt. “The NBA’s and its coaches/players’ response to Morey has been something we would expect from the NFL, not the NBA, and LeBron’s comments are essentially saying that Morey should ‘stick to sports,’ a different message than we have seen and heard from NBA leadership and players.”
“Even for the NBA, ‘staying woke’ has its limits,” he added.
The NBA became the center of national controversy after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed support for Hong Kong-based pro-democracy protesters. Morey’s support angered China, which has a large NBA fanbase, prompting the NBA to immediately issue an apology for having offended Chinese sensibilities.
“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable,” the statement said. “While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has since defended the statement, insisting that the league was not specifically apologizing to the Chinese government.
“It bothered me that in saying we regretted upsetting hundreds of millions of Chinese fans while at the same time supporting Daryl Morey’s speech, it bothered me, I’d say, that it was interpreted as an apology to the Chinese government,” he said. “We certainly didn’t apologize to the Chinese government. We supported Daryl from the get-go in terms of his ability to tweet. We also made clear that there were consequences from that speech. And, I think that was no doubt frustrating to a lot of people in the NBA community because it was incredibly disruptive.”

“But, you know, we accepted that,” he continued. “Daryl knew we accepted that. There was not much we could do about that. But, I think it bothered me that somehow even though we – I felt were holding the line in a way that many companies haven’t been able to in China, meaning there was no discipline of our employee, there was never a suggestion that we weren’t supporting him. In fact, I spoke out in favor of freedom of expression. Somehow, there was a sense from some people that that was the equivalent of kowtowing to the Chinese government. I certainly didn’t see it that way, but people are entitled to their opinion.”
NFL Executive: ‘Woke’ NBA ‘Hoisted By Its Own Political Petard’ NFL Executive: ‘Woke’ NBA ‘Hoisted By Its Own Political Petard’ Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on October 21, 2019 Rating: 5

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