The NBA is allowing its players to wear jerseys with approved “social justice phrases” on the back this season and fans are following suit, ordering custom jerseys from the league’s online store. The official online store of the National Basketball League hews closely to the league’s policy on political statements, however. As such, it does not permit fans to order custom jerseys with certain offensive phrases on them. Like “Free Hong Kong,” for example. The Free Beacon reports that if one types “Free Hong Kong” into the text box on the store’s custom jersey page it returns a message stating: “We are unable to customize this item with the text you have entered. Please try a different entry.”
“Black Lives Matter” is a message explicitly endorsed and approved by the league, as are those of “Power to the People,” “See Us,” “Hear Us,” “Respect Us,” “Love Us,” and “Stand Up,” among others. But any criticism of China’s Communist government is strictly verboten. You are not allowed to see, hear, respect, or love the people of Hong Kong who are being brutalized by an actual police state. Or stand up for them. Ironic, is it not?
The Free Beacon noted that the following phrases don’t receive the “unable to customize this item with the text you have entered” warning: “F**k Hong Kong,” “End Taiwan,” “Enslave Tibet,” “Trump Has AIDS,” and “Beware Of Jews.” I know, the league/store didn’t go through every possible permutation of words and phrases…that would be impossible and impractical. But, that just proves the point: it—and the league—specifically made certain that “Free Hong Kong” was disallowed…ala “All Lives Matter.”*
So, feel free to order “Screw Dignity,” “Reject Reason,” “F**K The Founders,” and “Mao Was Right” jerseys from the NBA store. But don’t get cute and try to come up with something controversial!
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) recently sent a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver questioning his league’s new jersey policy vis-a-vis its censorship of messages critical of China. ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski responded to Hawley’s action by stating “F**k you.” ESPN suspended him, prompting a number of NBA players, including superstar LeBron James, to rally around him.
Yeah. “Free OJ.” “Free Wojnarowski.” “Free NBA players making obscene salaries for being tall and good with a round ball.” But, the hell with the people of the formerly democratic country of Hong Kong. Sorry, but there’s lots of money to be made from the biggest market in the world.
I have a social justice message for the NBA: “F**K You!”
(*This was the case when the post was written. Maybe the league/store will address this injustice if enough people shame them.)