Kyrie Irving reportedly considered not playing in China Games amid NBA's clash with Chinese Government
At least Kyrie Irving has a foot to stand on. According to a report by Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Irving was ready to boycott the Nets games in Shenzhen in light of the Chinese Government's response to Rockets GM Daryl Morey's tweet supporting Hong Kong Protesters.
Kyrie Irving, according to sources who were in the room, questioned whether it was worth playing the games in such a charged environment. He said he was there to play basketball games, and if a requirement for those games was dealing with the fallout Morey’s tweet created, he would rather not play at all.
It's hard to blame Brooklyn's floor general with being disenfranchised with the idea of playing in front of hostile fans waiving Chinese Flags in a defiant stance against Democracy and with a government that pulled Chinese sponsors from the event and forced NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the players to refrain from holding media events to discuss the controversy.
While many NBA players and coaches have been critical of the Trump Administration, but remained largely silent on the matter in light of the government imposed media boycott.
While the players aren't fully to blame, it's somewhat frustrating for a league that has been openly critical of the United States government , but wouldn't dare criticize Communist China and the stranglehold the government has over its people and Hong Kong.
While the political climate in China is anything but stable, NBA players are relieved to have returned home to America safely.
The controversy in China is certainly a storyline that will reappear throughout the season as the NBA's Commissioner and Players looked to bow down to China and abide by the country's demands not to conduct public interviews.
There comes a time when a country has to take a stand and if that meant alienating a billion dollar market to protect freedom of speech and democracy, it's a measure the league should have taken.
Irving had the right idea about not playing in the China Games and not allowing the Chinese to dictate the terms of the trip and restrict players and league personnel from speaking their minds.
While the NBA didn't want to precipitate an international incident, the league's response to the Chinese government made it look weak by putting money ahead of the homeland's founding priniciples.