Money and ethics.
The National Basketball Association has felt the wrath of China’s government and business sector after the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted a support of Hong Kong protesters. The NBA probably will lose hundreds of millions of dollars of business and athletes with financial interests in China have been muzzled and won’t criticize China’s policies. China remains a major target for sports in pursuit of money and it should be very interesting to see how Olympic athletes and others connected to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games will handle what appears to be a major government sponsored censorship of independent thinking. The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics to Beijing despite protests from human rights organizations pointing out that China’s record on human rights was terrible. Somehow the IOC overlooked reports of human rights abuses and went ahead with the Games, an event that was designed to show the nations of the world that China was open for business. The IOC whitewashed every question about China and its human rights policies. The IOC was happy going to Beijing.
The NBA does not have to worry about the 2022 Olympics. But the National Hockey League is trying to make inroads into the world’s biggest consumer market. NHL players generally are quite when it comes to sharing opinions. NHL owners probably won’t say much about China and Hong Kong or human rights. The NHL doesn’t have a deal to send players to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as of yet. The National Football League has not been able to stage a game in China. Major League Baseball is looking to expand its China footprint. Most of the 2022 Winter Olympics athletes are independent contractors and don’t have endorsement deals. Will China crack down on free speech? And will the IOC and NHL allow it or will money rule?