Professor Comments on NBA-China Controversy

By Dan Verderosa, October 15, 2019
Stephen Mosher tells the Brisbane Times that the NBA is putting money above human rights.

Ithaca College professor Stephen Mosher weighed in on the controversy over the NBA’s relationship with China, telling the Brisbane times that the basketball league is prioritizing financial gain over social issues.

The controversy erupted when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of protesters in Hong Kong, who want to retain a degree of autonomy from the Chinese government. Leery of upsetting its largest market outside of the U.S. — the league just signed a $1.5 billion streaming deal with Chinese broadcaster Tencent — the NBA quickly distanced itself from Morey’s statement and apologized for any offense it might have caused.

The NBA’s reaction was criticized in the U.S., which Mosher says is because its apology ran counter to the league’s self-styled reputation as socially aware. “The fact remains that China is the largest basketball market in the world and the NBA has seemed to indicate that cash is going to win the day here,” he told the Brisbane Times.

Mosher is a professor in Ithaca College’s Department of Communication Studies, where he specializes in sport and popular culture and sport as political resistance.