Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are showing their anger at Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James’ support of their Chinese oppressors by torching likenesses of his basketball jersey.
When they aren’t burning jerseys, they’re telling everyone what they think of the NBA star’s comments on China and the continuing Hong Kong protests, CNBC reported Tuesday.
Although James has told reporters that, as a celebrity, he has been blessed with “a platform” to speak out against things that are “unjust” or “wrong,” he has apparently found little to criticize about China’s heavy-handed response to demonstrators. Instead, he has said the NBA should be careful about offending China because it could cause some financial ramifications for the basketball league. (FLASHBACK: LeBron James: ‘I Have A Platform’ To Speak Out Against ‘Something That’s Unjust’)
China is a big investor in the NBA, and James is counting on an endorsement deal with Nike — also a source of Chinese investment — reportedly earning him as much as $1 billion in revenue.
But the Hong Kong protesters indicated their approval of Morey’s tweet, according to the CNBC report, which added that it could not print what the group was calling James.
“People are angry,” web designer James Lo told CNBC, noting he has a video of James’ #23 jersey being put to the flames. (RELATED: Tucker And Patel: NBA Takes A Stand Against Freedom)
For Lo, the demonstrations are not some political exercise but an urgent expression that Hong Kong, once leased to Britain and a symbol of capitalism, is losing the last vestiges of its democratic past.
“Students, they come out like every weekend. They’ve got tear gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend. Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then he [James] just comes up with something [like] that. We just can’t accept that,” Lo told CNBC.
James tweeted out that his team and the league had gone through a “difficult week.”
My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
James seemingly put the matter to rest in a recent interview where he promised, “I won’t talk about it again.”
I asked LeBron James on his response to the criticism on not speaking out on a freedom of speech/human rights issue. His response pic.twitter.com/3ub5hYsa22
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 15, 2019