Hong Kong protesters are outraged and hurt by the “freedom of speech” statements made by NBA superstar LeBron James regarding China and have subsequently taken to the streets to burn and stomp on his jerseys.
James, 34, excoriated Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey for posting pro-human rights tweets about China just as James’ Los Angeles Lakers were traveling to China for preseason games, creating an international uproar.
King James’ words seemed to suggest that freedom of speech can have negative consequences, flying in the face of Hong Kong protestors who desire more freedoms from the Chinese government. James’ critics believe he is operating under a double standard of fighting for justice in America, but not showing the same zeal when discussing China.
“Please remember, all NBA players, what you said before: ‘Black lives matter.’ Hong Kong lives also matter!” said William Mok, 36, while addressing the Hong Kong crowd, according to CBS News.
“People are angry,” said James Lo who runs a Hong Kong basketball fan page on Facebook.
“Students, they come out like every weekend. They’ve [been] tear-gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend. Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then [James] just comes up with something [like] that. We just can’t accept that,” Lo said, according to CBS.
Hong Kong protesters aren’t the only ones who are blasting James. A number of prominent American diplomats are scorching James as well, Fox News reports.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., accused James of “parroting communist propaganda. China is running torture camps and you know it,” he said on Twitter, according to Fox.
Sen. Ted Kruz, R-Texas, was the most vocal and merciless of James’ critics. He told TMZ Live that “kissing up to Chinese communists and tyrants and apologizing for murderers, that’s not a good look.”
Cruz said King James is “more interested in money and making bucks” than standing up for human rights. “I don’t have a problem with [athletes discussing sociopolitical issues]. What I have a problem with is when they don’t know what they’re talking about and they end up defending tyrants.”
And there’s more.
This statement is unbelievable. “So many people could have been harmed”? By Daryl Morey daring to express sympathy for democracy? News flash: people ARE being harmed – shot, beaten, gassed – right now in Hong Kong. By China. By the Communist Party the NBA is so eager to appease
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 15, 2019
.@KingJames really missed his shot last night. We all need to stand with Hong Kong and speak out in favor of freedom — even when it may have financial costs. We are all Hong Kongers. #StandwithHongKong
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 15, 2019
To some people’s surprise, there were several Fox News political pundits who tried to defend James’ overall record of defending human rights as well as his philanthropic work which includes starting a charter school in his Akron, Ohio, hometown. They believe that James should not be crucified for one public misstep.
Check out the Fox News debate on the next page: