U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday took a jab at the National Basketball Association and Nike Inc. for kowtowing to China’s communist regime following the recent dust-up between the league and the nation.
Pence said the NBA was “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of China’s government following the recent controversy that stemmed from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters in a tweet. The NBA apologized for the tweet in an effort to make amends with China.
“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,” Pence said in his speech.
“In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime,” the vice president said.
Pence also took aim at Nike in its role, saying the athletic apparel and footwear giant should be “checking its social conscience at the door.”
The vice president made the remarks during a speech at The Wilson Center in Washington, DC.