Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal backed Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Tuesday night amid an ongoing feud between China, the NBA and many American critics, such as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
Morey drew heat from James and a handful of other NBA players after expressing support for Hong Kong citizens, who are fighting the Chinese government over various human rights injustices.
But Shaq wasn’t having it.
Shaq on Daryl Morey/China "One of our best values here in America is free speech we're allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that's just how it goes. and if people don't understand that that's something they have to deal with. pic.twitter.com/vefcHSPlMD
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 22, 2019
“And, one of our best values here in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that’s just how it goes,” O’Neal told the pre-game TNT panel. “If people don’t understand that, that’s something they have to deal with.
“I just thought it was unfortunate for both parties, and then you have people speaking when they don’t know what they’re talking about. But Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say ‘that’s not right,’ and that’s what he did.”
After suggesting they wouldn’t just “shut up and dribble” when it related to perceived American injustices, James & Co. were quick to button their lips and just dribble when their Chinese money was at stake.
That stance drew wide bi-partisan criticism, and Shaq wasn’t ready to sweep it all under the rug just yet.
Charles Barkley, on the other hand, was quick to push back against Shaq.
“We all have a responsibility to our employer,” Barkley said. “I can’t come on TV and say anything I want to politically. I can’t do that. His allegiance is to the Houston Rockets and the NBA, and he can quit if he’s not happy with it.”
Barkley may not get it, James certainly doesn’t get it, but Shaq seems to. The rights to life and freedom far outweigh any employment allegiances or income.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
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