An activist who protested for democracy in Hong Kong and who has testified in front of Congress called out NBA star LeBron James for being "hypocritical" on the issue of social justice, Bloomberg reported.
The activist, Joshua Wong, pointed out that while James is active and vocal about seeking justice for black Americans, he declined to say a word against China's oppression because doing so would put him at some financial risk.
"Defending democracy is vital, but @KingJames only talks loud in the U.S.," Wong wrote. "All he cares about is money, not human rights."
Wong served two months in jail for participation in the 2014 protests in Hong Kong against the influence of the communist Chinese government.
In the fall, the NBA got into a conflict with the Chinese government because Daryl Morey, an executive for the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The NBA has a significant presence in China, and many players have endorsement deals either in China or strongly boosted by sales in China.
China threatened to cut ties with the NBA over the tweet, and players were forced to choose between speaking out against human rights violations by the Chinese government or protecting their own business interests. James, one of the most influential voices in sports, chose the latter.
Instead, James criticized Morey for putting players in an uncomfortable position with his support for Hong Kong. The Los Angeles Lakers star was among players who were in China at the time for a series of preseason basketball games.
"I don't want to get into a word- or sentence-feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand," James said after a Lakers game in October in China. "And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually."
James recently started a group that aims to protect voting rights for black Americans. The organization is a response to reported voting issues in predominantly black precincts this week.
"Everyone talking about 'how do we fix this?'" James said. "They say 'go out and vote?' What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?"