The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been in the news lately because of a controversy over some comments made by one of its managers. Daryl Morey, the owner of the Houston Rockets, recently said that he supported the activists who are fighting for their rights in Hong Kong, a city that is ruled by the Chinese government. His comments angered the People’s Republic of China, and the country threatened to stop doing business with the NBA. Currently, the basketball league has an agreement with China to broadcast games to the Chinese people. This deal has enabled the NBA to make a significant sum of money.
But the Chinese government, which is currently fighting the Hong Kong activists, threatened to abandon the agreement because of Morey’s comments. The NBA responded by apologizing to China for the owner’s remarks regarding the Hong Kong protesters, who are demanding that they receive the same rights that Americans in the United States enjoy. Later, the Houston Rockets owner apologized on Twitter: “I did not intend my tweets to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China.”
The reason why this story is important is that it involves a right that is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution: the right to freedom of expression. This law prevents the government from punishing Americans who express their opinions on various matters. While it keeps citizens safe from the federal government, it does not mean that other consequences could occur if someone expresses a point of view that others do not like.
But more than being a law, the notion of free speech is ingrained in American culture. While the state cannot tell people what they can and can’t say, Americans have also supported the idea that people should be allowed to express their thoughts openly, even if nobody else likes them, without being punished by society. Companies that valued the right to free speech would not allow a foreign country to tell individuals that they cannot criticize their governments, but in this case, the NBA did not protect this right.
Communism and Free Speech
The People’s Republic of China is led by a Communist government. There are many different elements to this type of governance, but the one most relevant to this story is the fact that Chinese citizens do not enjoy the right to free speech. They can speak freely as long as they do not say anything negative about the government.
If a Chinese person makes comments that could be critical of the Communists in charge, they could be arrested and put in prison. The country is well known for punishing individuals who speak out against Chinese politicians. This is why their police are fighting with the protesters who wish to have this freedom for themselves. It is also why they are willing to back out of a deal because a member of the NBA said that he supports the activists.
Free speech is one of the most important rights that the Constitution protects. Without it, Americans would be unable to say what they want. They would constantly live in the fear that they might say something that catches the attention of the state. For this, Americans should be grateful for the First Amendment and fight hard to protect it.