Vice President Mike Pence took the National Basketball Association and Nike to task for their response to Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of protesters in Hong Kong.
In a speech on the U.S.-China relationship, Pence blasted Nike for calling itself a ‘social justice champion’ but pulling Houston Rockets merchandise from its stores in China after officials in that country expressed outrage over Morey’s tweet.
“Nike promotes itself as a so-called ‘social -justice champion,’ but when it comes to Hong Kong, it prefers checking its social conscience at the door. Nike stores in China actually removed their Houston Rockets merchandise from their shelves to join the Chinese government in protest against the Rockets general manager’s seven-word tweet: ‘Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.'”
Watch his comments below:
Pence turned his fire on the NBA and its players who “routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country,” but “lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of other peoples,” and accused the organization of “acting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese government:
“In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime.”
He slammed a progressive corporate culture that “willfully ignores the abuse of human rights” it is not progressive “it’s repressive.”
As Chinese furor grew over Morey’s tweet he deleted it saying, “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event.” And the NBA released its own statement saying it was “regrettable” that his tweet had “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.”
Pence said in his remarks that the United States supports the protesters in Hong Kong, “We stand with you, we are inspired by you. We urge you to stay on the path of non-violent protest.”
His comments come a day after Hong Kong officials announced they are officially withdrawing the controversial extradition bill that touched of months of protests.