By now, everyone knows about the NBA and their latest debacle with the Chinese government. Over the span of the past two weeks, tensions between the league and the Chinese community have risen to an all-time high.
After a rather neutral comment by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, things have been uncharacteristically quiet from the players' side of things. Guys like LeBron, Steph Curry, and others have avoided speaking up or speaking out on the issue at hand.
In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, several NBA Agents explained why:
“We proactively addressed our clients and told them not to discuss this and just let the NBA handle it at this point,” an NBA agent told Alex Kennedy. “There’s really no upside to speaking out about this if you’re a player, so we advised them that it’s best to stay out of it and let Adam Silver and the league handle this.”
For some, their players haven't even asked about addressing the hot topic.
“None of my guys have asked me about addressing the situation,” another agent added. “At this point, I think it’s like a hot iron and no players want to touch it. No one wants to give their opinion on it. [I believe players] shouldn’t talk about politics or religion.”
Certain agents are also advising their players to do their research beforehand if they do feel the need to say something.
“I tell my guys that they should read up on the issue and that they should understand some of the issues involving human rights,” one agent said. “It’s a delicate balance of trying to do business in China and understanding that you have to sacrifice certain freedoms that many people take for granted here – unfortunately.”
It's a complicated thing, and many are not sure how to respond. Without support from the Chinese, the league could lose billions of dollars in revenue. But, being in America, it is within our right to speak on injustices, even if they involve people that live thousands of miles away.
As Adam Silver and league executives try to control the situation, the players and teams are preparing for a fresh new season later this month. Unfortunately, there is no promise the two will not coincide. In fact, the effects of this controversy could linger for months.