NBA okay with China’s ‘abhorrent’ rights abuses but HB2 is ‘a bridge too far’, N.C. congressman charges

by WorldTribune Staff, July 29, 2016

The NBA’s pursuit of lucrative deals to hold games in China while canceling the league’s 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte reeks of “hypocrisy,” a North Carolina congressman said.

In a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Rep. Robert Pittenger referenced the “Chinese government practice of forcefully harvesting vital organs as part of their oppression of religious minorities. Meanwhile, the NBA will start selling tickets for preseason games in China next week.”

Rep. Robert Pittenger
Rep. Robert Pittenger

Pittenger asked Silver if the NBA was okay with “China’s abhorrent violation of basic human rights” but found “North Carolina saying men shouldn’t use the girl’s locker room is a bridge too far?”

The congressman called the NBA’s move “unmistakeable hypocrisy,” saying there seemed to be a “gross lack of judgment and moral clarity” from the league.

Silver responded by saying Charlotte was chosen as a host city in 2015, before House Bill 2 was passed. Silver says the law created a “nationwide controversy, and widespread litigation, with Charlotte as its geographical focal point.”

Pittenger on July 28 sent a response to Silver’s comments that was signed by 16 representatives from 13 states, including North Carolina Reps. Richard Hudson, Walter B. Jones and David Rouzer.

The letter said pressure faced by the NBA and other companies “highlights a tragic reality,” saying “liberal activists are more concerned with allowing men into the girls’ locker room than standing up for female dissidents in China who face unspeakable sexual abuse and torture.”

Pittenger said these “barbarous acts in China have long been in the public domain prior to the NBA pursing a lucrative opportunity in China.”

The letter said the NBA has chosen to “bow to the firestorm in this country,” saying China’s lack of free speech gives the NBA a “safe haven” to advance its business interests.

“Where was the left’s righteous indignation when the NBA originally announce the All-Star Game in Charlotte? Just a few months prior, in February 2015, the Charlotte City Council voted down the very same ordinance you now champion with your decision to withdraw the game.”

“We should all stand tall together and not allow the agenda of a few to dominate the better interests of all,” the letter continued. “The NBA has enjoyed stellar success. May your success provide you the perspective and courage to deflect the challenges of an outspoken activist minority. Don’t let sports become exploited for political purposes.”