Most of us haven't even heard of the name Chamath Palihapitiya until Monday afternoon. Well, the man is now making headlines for his controversial statements about the Uyghur genocide in China, and unfortunately for the Golden State Warriors, the fact that Palihapitiya is a co-owner of the franchise means that the team has now been dragged into this squabble.
For their part, the Warriors were quick to distance themselves from Palihapitiya and his apathetic attitude towards the persecution of the Uyghurs Muslims by the Chinese government. The Dubs released a statement via Twitter to say that they definitely do not share the views of Palihapitiya in this highly-controversial issue:
“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.”
Warriors statement re: Chamath Palihapitiya: pic.twitter.com/zUl6i9sOve
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) January 17, 2022
Palihapitiya, an American-Canadian venture capitalist, currently owns 10 percent of the Warriors franchise. The 45-year-old Sri Lankan-born businessman is most known for being the CEO and founder of Social Capital, as well as his tenure as an early high-ranking executive with Facebook.
Palihapitiya made his comments on a recent episode of the All-In podcast, wherein he serves as one of the hosts of the show:
“Let’s be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” Palihapitiya said. “You bring it up because you really care, and I think that’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care.
“I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line.”
It did not stop there for the Warriors co-owner. Palihapitiya tried to explain the rationale behind his statement, but in truth, it only further incriminated him:
“I care about [empty shelves at grocery stores]. I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan. I care about that,” Palihapitiya continued (h/t Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post). “I care about climate change. I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure.
“But if you’re asking me do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us. I think a lot of people believe that and I’m sorry if that’s a hard truth to hear. But every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care.”
Unsurprisingly, Boston Celtics big man Enes Freedom has chimed in on the situation. Freedom has been a staunch critic of the Chinese government, and he's even taken on LeBron James and Nike with regard to this issue. The Celtics center did not hold back in criticizing Palihapitiya for his recent tirade:
When @NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like @chamath the owner of @warriors,
who says “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs”
When genocides happen, it is people
like this that let it happen
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) January 17, 2022
According to multiple reports, an estimated one million Uyghur Muslims have already been detained by Chinese authorities in an attempt to change their religious and political beliefs. They are reportedly being held in “re-education” camps wherein they have allegedly been subjected to several human rights violations. The Chinese government has consistently denied any and all allegations pertaining to the abuse of Uyghurs in their nation.