Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he is “against human rights violations around the world,” though he is “OK doing business with China,” where more than one million Muslims have been imprisoned in concentration camps because “we have to pick our battles.”
Cuban’s comments came during an appearance on The Megyn Kelly Show podcast that aired Monday, in which the former Fox News and NBC News host asked why Cuban and the NBA wouldn’t “explicitly condemn” the numerous human rights abuses being carried out by the Chinese government, including the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, torture, forced labor, coercive population controls, forced abortions and forced sterilizations.
“I personally put a priority on domestic issues. I’m against human rights violations around the world,” Cuban said.
When Kelly pushed back, asking if that included violations in China, Cuban replied, “China is not the only country with human rights violations.”
After further pressing, Cuban said, “Yes, including China. Any human rights violations anywhere are wrong,” though he listed other countries where human rights violations occur, including Turkey and some African countries.
“Why would the NBA take $500 million dollars-plus from a country that is engaging in ethnic cleansing?” Kelly asked, to which Cuban replied that Kelly was basically “saying nobody should do business with China ever.”
When asked why he was dodging the question Cuban said, “Because they are a customer.”
“They are a customer of ours, and guess what, Megyn? I’m OK with doing business with China. And so we have to pick our battles. I wish we could solve all the world’s problems. But we can’t.”
The league has continually come under fire for getting involved in hot-button issues, including last year when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, leading the Chinese government to pull Rockets merchandise off shelves and to remove some NBA games from state TV. A number of Chinese corporations ended their sponsorships with the league as a result.
The NBA later said Morey’s statement was “regrettable” and received criticism for not standing up for free speech.
The league has also recently drawn criticism for thrusting itself in the middle of the racial reckoning that has taken place nationwide, in painting “Black Lives Matter” on its courts in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla.
The league has seen a drop in ratings, recording an all-time low 5.7 million viewers for game 5 of the NBA Finals, according to Nielsen Media Research. The league once drew 30.6 million viewers for its Finals in 1998.
Some have attributed the drop to the league’s penchant for getting in the middle of political issues.
However, Cuban defended the league’s support of Black Lives Matter on Kelly’s podcast, saying the league does not support “BlackLivesMatter.com,” the group which was founded by Marxists and has expressed support for dismantling the nuclear family, but instead the Black Lives Matter movement at large, which he claims is separate from the group.
“We’re supporting the movement. It’s really a distributive movement across the country to try to end racism to bring awareness to social justice issues,” he said.
“When I speak I’m speaking for the NBA as an owner and so I can tell you it’s been very clear that we’re supportive of the movement, we’re supportive of trying to end racism, we’re supportive of police reform but you’ve never ever heard us talk about marxism,” Cuban said.
Kelly pushed back saying the movement’s main goal is to defund the police and that multiple NBA players have expressed support for that goal.
“I can tell you that while we are interested in police reform, yes, and we have had discussions about police reform, yes. We have never talked about defunding the police,” he said.
Cuban faced off against Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Twitter recently after the Texas senator poked fun at the league’s low ratings saying, “Not surprising. Personally speaking, this is the first time in years that I haven’t watched a single game in the NBA Finals #GoWokeGoBroke.”
Cuban shot back, criticizing Cruz for rooting for the NBA to do poorly as there are three teams in Texas, the state Cruz represents in the Senate, which he said are “employing thousands of people”
While Cruz said he is a Houston Rockets fan, he criticized the NBA for its “concerted effort to (1) insult their fans & (2) turn every game into a left-wing political lecture.”
He later said he wished Cuban “loved his fans as much as he loves Chinese money.”
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