This is what the NBA, or any company that wants to do business in China is up against:
““We are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.”
Read that again. Talk about doublespeak. Might as well have said “we believe in free speech, you are free to say any of the things we told you to say”.
It’s going to be interesting how the owners of NBA franchises feel about this going forward, and whether the majority are more interested in making money, or standing by their principles, especially the Nets owner who has come out somewhat in support of China. Would there be enough agreement in that group to get Silver ousted over this or will the Chinese fans demand for the NBA eventually get the government to back off?
There’s a lot of money on the line here, and not just for owners. Players and shoe companies have a lot invested in China as well, and will also be hoping ti blows over, but they all should know this is what you get when you play in the Chinese market. Just look at Google and all the other companies who have cooperated with the government to censor their own products or otherwise go along with things they’d never do anywhere else, in the name of profit. You can cooperate and go against everything you say you stand for, or you can lose access to a potential billion+ customers. The Communists know this, multi-national corporations know this, but most people don’t necessarily pay attention to it. They should, especially when they are making decisions based on the politics of companies as they portray themselves to Western media, without considering how they do something very different when it comes to China.
Where will the NBA wind up in this situation? Will standing up for free speech cost it massively in China? Will caving cost it massively in the US market? I tend to doubt either will happen, we love our sports, no matter how much we may have to hold our noses at some of the business practices. They know that, so I predict eventually this will blow over, because at the end of the day, too many people will want to watch the games.
Photo by tomasdev