Mike Pence Blasts Nike, Calls The NBA A ‘Wholly Owned Subsidiary’ Of China

REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Vice President Mike Pence unloaded on the National Basketball Association (NBA) and sportswear giant Nike, accusing both of bowing to the whims of China.

Speaking at The Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., Pence said that the NBA was behaving as if it was a “wholly owned subsidiary” of China while Nike was “checking its social conscience at the door.”


Pence’s comments followed a tweet — and the subsequent fallout of that tweet — from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. “‘Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong,'” Morey tweeted, prompting backlash in the Chinese market and an apology from the league.

“Some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of other peoples. In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime,” Pence said.


The vice president then turned his attention to Nike, which had pulled several items from the Chinese market after a designer had voiced support for the Hong Kong protests earlier in the summer. Nike also removed Houston Rockets gear from its Chinese website after Morey’s tweet. (RELATED: Houston Rockets Gear Hidden On Nike’s Chinese Website Following GM’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,” Pence said.