Why there is ‘no upside’ to speaking out on China issue, per NBA agent
NBA players have been privately encouraged to let the NBA resolve its issue with the Chinese government in the wake of the firestorm set off by a pro-Hong Kong tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey — one that has had some serious reverberations with sponsors and a broadcast collective pulling out from showing NBA games.
One agent revealed the strategy that has been put in motion:
“We proactively addressed our clients and told them not to discuss this and just let the NBA handle it at this point,” an NBA agent told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “There’s really no upside to speaking out about this if you’re a player, so we advised them that it’s best to stay out of it and let Adam Silver and the league handle this.”
Some agents haven’t even touched basis about this issue, as players themselves have wanted to stay out of that situation altogether:
“None of my guys have asked me about addressing the situation,” another agent added. “At this point, I think it’s like a hot iron and no players want to touch it. No one wants to give their opinion on it. [I believe players] shouldn’t talk about politics or religion.”
Other have gone through a different course, telling players to inform themselves regarding the fragility of the situation if they’re hoping to opine on these matters — a route the likes of Steve Kerr and Draymond Green have taken recently:
“I tell my guys that they should read up on the issue and that they should understand some of the issues involving human rights,” one agent said. “It’s a delicate balance of trying to do business in China and understanding that you have to sacrifice certain freedoms that many people take for granted here – unfortunately.”
The Chinese government pulled nearly all the ads relating to the NBA China Games, which featured a double-header between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. NBA sponsors have also withdrawn their support from the league, and even Chinese brand Anta — which sponsors players like Klay Thompson and Gordon Hayward — has ceased contract renewal negotiations with the league in the wake of this geopolitical mess.