Mark Cuban condemns human rights violations worldwide, but ‘OK doing business with China’

Mark Cuban declared that he is against human rights violations around the world, including in China, with the Dallas Mavericks owner adding during a podcast interview with Megyn Kelly airing on Monday that he is “OK doing business with China” because “we have to pick our battles.”

In the oftentimes combative interview, Kelly reeled off several human rights abuses carried out by the Chinese government, which has been accused of the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, torture, forced labor, coercive population controls, forced abortions and forced sterilizations.

“The question remains, why won’t you and the NBA explicitly condemn that?” she asked Cuban, one of the league’s most vocal owners.

“I personally put a priority on domestic issues. I’m against human rights violations around the world,” he responded.

“Including the ones in China?” Kelly asked.

“China is not the only country with human rights violations,” Cuban replied.

“Including China, Mark?” she later pressed after some cross-talk.

“Yes, including China. Any human rights violations anywhere are wrong,” Cuban responded before also mentioning Turkey and some countries in Africa as other places where abuses occur.

“Why would the NBA take $500 million dollars-plus from a country that is engaging in ethnic cleansing?” Kelly later asked.

“So basically, you’re saying nobody should do business with China ever,” Cuban retorted.

“Why won’t you just answer my question?” she replied.

“Because they are a customer,” he said. “They are a customer of ours, and guess what, Megyn? I’m OK with doing business with China. And so we have to pick our battles. I wish we could solve all the world’s problems. But we can’t.”

The league came under fire last year when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed his support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in a seven-word tweet: “Fight for Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.”

China’s communist government pulled Rockets merchandise off its shelves and removed some NBA games from state TV, with the tweet also prompting many Chinese corporations to end their sponsorships with the league.

The NBA called Morey’s comment “regrettable” in an effort to contain the economic damage, drawing howls from critics for not standing up for free speech.

Cuban during the interview with Kelly also hit the league for poor promotion of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, which were the least-watched on record. 

“I don’t think it has anything to do with politics. I just think we don’t have the match-up and the storylines, and we didn’t do a good job promoting it,” he said.

The Finals featured the league’s biggest star in LeBron James and arguably its most popular franchise with the Lakers, which defeated the Heat to win the NBA championship on Sunday.

Ratings hit all-time lows, however, with just 5.7 million viewers tuning into Game 5, according to Nielsen Media Research. For context, the 1998 NBA Finals featuring Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls attracted 30.6 million viewers.

Some critics argued the league’s public support of Black Lives Matter hurt the NBA with some fans.

Cuban recently had a dustup on social media with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) regarding China and NBA ratings.

Cruz mocked the numbers on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, sparking a reaction from Cuban.

“Not surprising. Personally speaking, this is the first time in years that I haven’t watched a single game in the NBA Finals,” Cruz wrote while using the hashtag “#GoWokeGoBroke.”

“A US Senator with 3 @NBA teams in his state, employing thousands of people and he is rooting for their businesses to do poorly,” Cuban shot back. “This is who you are @tedcruz . Every minute of your life, this is exactly who you are.”

“I love @HoustonRockets and have rooted for them my entire life,” Cruz shot back. “I happily cheer for the Spurs & Mavericks against any non-TX team. But @mcuban the NBA is engaged in a concerted effort to (1) insult their fans & (2) turn every game into a left-wing political lecture. That’s dumb.”

“You are so full of shit. You haven’t watched a game of the finals, how would you know what is being said or done? Since when is a desire to end racism an insult to anyone or political? And you don’t think using #GetWokeGoBroke is a partisan insult? Again, this is who you are,” Cuban retorted.

“I wish @mcuban loved his fans as much as he loves Chinese money,” Cruz countered.

Kelly, a former Fox News and NBC News host, launched “The Megyn Kelly Show” podcast in September through her independent company, Devil May Care Media.

Tags China Dallas Mavericks Human rights Mark Cuban Megyn Kelly NBA Ted Cruz
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