Saagar Enjeti rips NBA's response to China backlash

Opinion by: Saagar Enjeti

By now I'm sure that you've seen the news that the Chinese Government is very upset at Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for tweeting support for Hong Kong protestors.

So much so that they're banning streaming of the rockets and forcing Chinese companies to back out of lucrative advertising and merchandising deals. This is straight out of China's economic warfare playbook, and the real problem is that it appeared to almost work.

The owner of the Houston Rockets quickly distanced himself from the tweet, the NBA itself put out a statement basically calling Morey's expression of support for Hong Kong protestors regrettable, and urging reconciliation with its fans in China.

It was a bootlicking attempt by the Houston Rockets and the league to beg for Chinese cash, and the reason I want to highlight it for you all today, is because it is the story of how corporations and much of the billionaire class it created sold us all out a very long time ago, and the magnitude of the problem we face today.

This statement created so much backlash they issued a new one this morning to make their stance quote "More clear."

Sticking with the NBA, look at this disgraceful statement by Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai.

It makes a lot more sense when you see that Tsai is the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, one of the largest corporations in China. Even Rockets players got in on the action. Star athlete James Harden apologized for the tweet of his General Manager. Why? Well, a quick google search tells me he signed a gigantic endorsement deal with Adidas and has been on tour in China for many years in a row promoting his products.

These people don't give a damn about the United States, they care about making money. The NBA is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at how Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergClinton 2020 whisper campaign hits new heights Hillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report From learning on his feet to policy director MORE debases himself in this recent clip when talking about chinese president Xi Jingping.

Bloomberg isn't a dumb guy, I couldn't believe it. Until a trusted source pointed out that Bloomberg just allowed Chinese corporate bonds to its index funds and then it started to make a lot more sense.

How did we get to a place where our biggest stars and richest citizens don't care about us? It’s a bipartisan tale that actually starts in the 1980's when American corporations saw the rise of a relatively stable China after years of turmoil. China promised American corporations a cheaper place to make their products so they didn't have to pay pesky American citizens. These corporations used their power in the White House, in Congress, and in the media to push a central narrative. That opening China up to economic investment from the West would make our two economies intertwined and therefore would them a more Democratic society.

At the same time, American consumers get cheaper goods from China, so it’s a win-win for everybody right? Wrong. Instead what happened is that the industrial midwest, well rapidly deindustrialized. The chinese middle class grew faster than anyone expected and a once provincial backwater became America's largest competitor on the global stage. The entire time, while you were suffering from these policies, every think tank scholar and politician on both sides of the aisle told you over and over again that you were better off because goods were cheaper.

I guess they're right. Our populace is literally poisoning itself with drugs, people are killing themselves at historically higher rates, wealth inequality is worse than it’s ever been. And meanwhile Wall Street, Hollywood, and the NBA, nearly every other part of the commanding heights of American culture has been infested with Chinese cash.

Why is that a bad thing? Well because now the people who control our banks, who control what we see, what we laugh at, who we watch play sports, are beholden to some very bad people in Beijing. And Beijing isn't shy about using its economic entanglements with the US to try and force American citizens to behave however they want us to as evidenced by this NBA scandal.

In this vein, people were puzzled when they saw that the iconic top gun leather jacket was changed for Tom Cruise in the new sequel. Until that is they all noticed that the movie was being financed by Tencent Pictures, which is owned by Tencent, which is a massive Chinese state controlled media conglomerate.

At no other time in American history has there been a literal financial interest for the richest in our economy to side with our enemies over their own citizens. They don't care about you, and worse they have constructed an ideology which lets them justify the empowerment of their enemies in the name of cheaper products for us all.