Billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, joined his friends in the National Basketball Association this week by turning a blind eye to Communist China’s human rights violations against the Uyghurs.
“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay?” Palihapitiya said in a recent episode of his All-In Podcast. “You bring it up because you really care and I think that’s nice that you care, the rest of us don’t care.”
It’s a jarring statement that clearly bothered his podcast co-host and “bestie” Jason Calacanis.
“Wait, you’re saying you personally don’t care?” Calacanis asked incredulously.
“I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line,” Palihapitiya reaffirmed.
Palihapitiya said the not-so-quiet part of the NBA’s attempts to sympathize with Communist China out loud.
For years the NBA has capitalized on its relationship with China while conveniently ignoring the authoritarian regime’s tyranny, concentration camps, censorship, and more. The professional basketball league has not only profited millions off of feeding China basketball content, but it also sells shoes hyping up various NBA teams and players that are made by Anta Sports, a company that sources materials from the Xinjiang province where Uyghur Muslims are tortured, held, and frequently disappeared by the Chinese government.
The NBA also happily silenced employees who spoke out against the sports organization’s friendliness with the communist regime and barred fans from customizing jerseys with the slogan “FreeHongKong” to support Hong Kong’s fight for democracy.
While the Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter Freedom pleads for the world to pay attention to China’s authoritarian practices, the NBA actively avoids acknowledging China’s grave, murderous errors.
At the same time, the NBA proudly endorses rhetoric and actions criticizing the U.S. In 2020, several WNBA players stormed off the basketball court and the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and other teams boycotted games over the shootings of Breonna Taylor and knife-wielding Jacob Blake. As a result, the NBA began to push woke racial “equity” propaganda on and off the courts which eventually bit them in the butt when viewership and ratings plummeted.
During his conversation about China and the Uyghurs, Palihapitiya admitted that he “cares” about some of the popular leftist talking points such as climate change, “America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure,” and even if China invades Taiwan. Still, much like the NBA, Palihapitiya could not bother himself with condemning the grotesque genocide of the Uyghurs by Communist China.
“Every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care, and so I’d rather not lie to you and tell you the truth: It’s not a priority for me,” Palihapitiya said.
If Palihapitiya had professed a lack of care for a person, group, or cause wielded by the left to accomplish a political agenda such as the racial justice initiative, he would have been immediately canceled and forced to give up his portion of ownership of the NBA team. Instead, his comments seem to have ruffled approximately zero of his fellow NBA team owners’ feathers.
Palihapitiya can turn a blind eye to Uyghur suffering in Xinjiang because he knows the China-sympathetic NBA will defend him.