“First of all, Vice President Pence needs to shut the hell up,” Barkley said during an NBA pregame on TNT. “All American companies are doing business in China.”
Charles Barkley on TNT NBA pregame replying to VP’s comment of China & the NBA “Vice President Pence needs to shut the hell up” pic.twitter.com/dBSSHMHlRd
— WonderousATX (@wonderousATX) October 24, 2019
The former NBA player added that he thought it was “unfair” that politicians were attempting “to make the NBA and our players look bad” after President Trump has started a trade war against China.
“But I don’t understand why these holier than thou politicians — if they’re so worried about China, then why don’t they stop all transactions with China?” Barkley said.
Barkley continued that he thought the judgements against Commissioner Adam Silver and LeBron James were “unfair,” and that Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey is free to say what he wants but has to realize “there are consequences” to his comments.
The NBA became involved in controversy when Morey tweeted his support of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which the association later called “regrettable.” The tweet sparked backlash in China, causing companies to cut ties with the Houston Rockets.
Pence condemned the association for its reaction earlier Thursday, saying it’s “un-American” for U.S. companies to “embrace censorship.”
“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.