Why do the Washington Wizards keep honoring a Chinese Communist?

Bradley Beal,Joe Ingles
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives around Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Rick Bowmer/AP

Why do the Washington Wizards keep honoring a Chinese Communist?

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The NBA’s groveling to China has slipped from public view in recent months, but the Washington Wizards are doing what they can to remind everyone that the league is in bed with a genocidal regime.

Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang posted a video of him shooting free throws before or after the Wizards’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Qin said that he also “renewed our special relationship” with the Wizards, who visited China in 1979 as the Washington Bullets. This is not the first time Qin has been honored by the Wizards, who allowed him to give a video message to the arena in January.

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Qin’s job is to whitewash Chinese atrocities for an American audience, and apparently, that is exactly the kind of person that the Wizards are happy to partner with. In this year alone, Qin has threatened both Taiwan and the United States with military action, said that China was not committing genocide against the Uyghurs, and refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (which China tacitly supports).

So why do the Wizards continue to promote a propagandist for a genocidal regime? NBA Commissioner Adam Silver complained this year that China’s NBA blackout cost the league “hundreds of millions” of dollars. The Chinese Communist Party blacked out the NBA for 18 months after one NBA general manager tweeted in support of protesters in Hong Kong against the CCP. The league’s relationship with China is worth some $5 billion.

While the NBA and teams like the Wizards parrot social justice talking points, the drive for money has subjugated the league to the interests of the CCP. And so the Wizards have no problem repeatedly promoting and honoring a man who serves as a mouthpiece for the regime that is the world’s worst human rights abuser. Sports media outlets won’t press them on this, given how many softballs they have lobbed to Silver on the league’s ties to China, so the Wizards have no problem putting a price tag on human rights.

The NBA will never sever its “special relationship” with China, no matter how many times the league pretends to care about “equality” or “dignity.” China pays the bills, and so China calls the shots in the league’s relationship, which means teams like the Wizards will continue to debase themselves whenever it’s time to cash the checks.

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