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Sen. Rick Scott: NBA ‘More Focused on Selling Jerseys and Shoes than Freedom Around the World’

By Craig Millward | October 22, 2019 | 11:03am EDT
Sen. Rick Scott (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

(CNSNews.com)-“The NBA will not stand for freedom” because it’s “more focused on selling jerseys and shoes then freedom around the world,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Monday, commenting on the National Basketball Association's criticism of, and apology to China for, a tweet posted by one of its general managers supporting greater freedom in Hong Kong.

Speaking on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Tuesday Night, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Americans shouldn't stand for the NBA's refusal to stand up for freedom:

“The NBA is very disappointing. They’re more focused on selling jerseys and shoes than freedom around the world,” Scott said. “They said they had a bad- it was tough on them. What’s tough about standing up for freedom? The NBA will not stand for freedom. I think everybody ought to go out and say tell the NBA you’ve got to stand for American values. We believe in freedom, not just in America but freedom all over the world.”

Discussing his recent trip to visit protesters demanding human rights in Hong Kong, Scott voiced his objection to holding the 2020 Winter Olympics in China:

“Oh, it’s frustrating. I went over there, I was the first senator to go over there, to meet with the protesters. I met with business people. And President XI, he’s a human rights violator. The NBA is very disappointing. They’re more focused on selling jerseys and shoes than freedom around the world. They said they had a bad - it was tough on them. What’s tough about standing up for freedom? The NBA will not stand for freedom. I think everybody ought to go out and say, tell the NBA you’ve got to stand for American values.

“We believe in freedom, not just in America, but freedom all over the world. Why is it, by the way, why is the Olympic committee going to holding the Winter Olympics in 2022 there? Are they going to say it’s okay that President XI can tell all those athletes that you cannot have a conversation about what is going on in China, because that's what he's did with the NBA and the NBA signed off on that.”

MacCallum, then, asked Scott how he thinks the controversy will affect the NBA in terms of image and public relations:

“So, what do you think it's going to happen? I mean do you think you’re going to see a lot of protests? In the NBA rules, they have a rule against political signs in NBA games, so they do have the right, according to their rules, to pull those signs down. But, I think that’s going to be politically and public relations-wise a very bad move for them. How do you think this is going to play out?”

Scott said he believes siding with China will destroy the NBA's brand, because "Americans believe in freedom":

“I think it will be a very bad move. Americans believe in freedom. The NBA believes in selling jerseys and shoes. That’s not compatible. So, the NBA better change. They ought to stop playing games in China. They ought to say, ‘We are wrong in kowtowing to president XI and stopping our players from speaking what they believe in.’

“So, I think their brand is going down, and their players better start showing up to talking about the freedom in this country and freedom worldwide because that’s what we all believe in.”

Last week, in a letter sent to the president of the International Olympic Committee, Scott called for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved out of China if the communist country refuses to stop committing human rights violations:

“The International Olympic Committee is now faced with an important decision. If Communist China continues breaking promises, violating human rights, and oppressing the people of Hong Kong, then Beijing should not be allowed to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"The Olympic Games are an incredible opportunity to allow the world’s best athletes to represent their countries, and should not be hosted by Communist China and President Xi, who does not value human rights. I ask this committee to stand up for freedom and urge Communist China to do the right thing, or find a new home for the 2022 Olympic Games.”

The 2019-2020 NBA regular season begins on Tuesday night.

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