Leagues silence players

Krys Shahin, @Krysshah

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With current reports on protests happening in Hong Kong and China ramping up, NBA and other sports players have been advised to stay out of it and remain indifferent on the issue.

In April of this year, an extradition bill was introduced in Hong Kong that would allow government to extradite specific criminals to mainland China rather than holding them in their own prisons.

Hong Kong citizens reacted to the extradition bill negatively, and there have been protests against the bill for months. Protesters and opposers say that this bill is going to endanger Hong Kongers, exposing them to unlawful treatment and unfair trials. This bill also targets journalists and activists in the country.

Thousands of protestors filled the streets, businesses closed and the government was forced to respond after the bill was passed. Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, responded to the protests and explained that the bill would be suspended indefinitely.

Although the bill was suspended, many individuals in Hong Kong are still protesting the fact that the bill was ever put into effect. Not only has this bill affected criminals in Hong Kong, but common people such as gamers and sports players as well.

Recently, Blizzard, a popular video game company, banned a professional Hong Kong gamer and streamer from competing and associating with the video game due to his celebration being a cry of “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” Oct. 8 in a live stream.

This is important because now NBA teams and agents are following in suit with this anti-first amendment mindset. Agents strongly suggest that all players stay away from the topic of China, even though the country just cut ties with the league.

  This reaction is coming in response to Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey who tweeted, “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” which has now been deleted.

This attention has aroused some negativity in some fans and they have shared them with sports players and coaches.

Many think that celebrities, or those who are famous, should have no opinion on politics whatsoever, so seeing sports coaches have open and public opinions about another country’s government can attract “bad press” to the sports team.

Celebrities like Steph Curry, who promote certain brands like Under Armour in China, refuse to comment. I would say this is to ensure the security of his reputation as an “unproblematic” man who cares about his community.

I personally think that it is too soon to have much of an opinion on what is happening to enforce “cancel culture” on celebrities with opinions on a complex topic that does not directly involve the United States.

All I know is that Hong Kong citizens want to be able to express their thoughts freely, and American’s should be the last to suppress that speech, regardless of the outcome.

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