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NBA team exec and co-owner declares that 'nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs' — despite China's well-known abuse of their human rights

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Image source: YouTube screenshot

Chamath Palihapitiya — an executive and part owner of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association — said that "nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs," who are victims of China's well-documented human rights abuses.

What else did he say?

Palihapitiya is part of the "All-In" podcast with friends and colleagues Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg, and they discuss the economy, tech, politics, and other subjects.

In episode 63, posted Saturday to YouTube, Calacanis brought up President Joe Biden's policy on China and said his statement on the Uyghurs was "very strong."

“Let's be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, OK?" Palihapitiya shot back.

"What?" Calacanis retorted in shock. "What do you mean nobody cares?"

"You bring it up 'cause you really care, and I think that's nice that you care," Palihapitiya continued. "The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you ... a very hard, ugly truth, OK? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line, OK? ... It is below my line."

Calacanis called his colleague's stance "disappointing."

Soon Palihapitiya noted a few other issues he does care about, including empty shelves in grocery stores, climate change, that "our economy could turn on a dime" if China invades Taiwan, and America's "crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure."

"But if you're asking me do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us," Palihapitiya explained, adding that "every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I'm really just lying if I don't really care. And so I'd rather not lie to you and tell you the truth. It's not a priority for me."

When Calacanis argued it's a "sad state of affairs" when human rights as a global concept "falls beneath tactical and strategic issues," Palihapitiya replied that such a stance is a "luxury belief."

The Warriors' exec and part owner added that "we don't do enough domestically to actually express that view in real, tangible ways. So until we actually clean up our own house, the idea that we step outside of our borders ... with us sort of like morally virtual signaling about somebody else's human rights track record is deplorable."

E63: Insurrection indictments, human rights in the US and abroad, groundbreaking MS study and more youtu.be

Anything else?

China's human rights abuses of the Uyghurs — and in general — not only have been a pretty big headline for a while now, but also it's an issue in professional sports, most notably in the NBA, which covets the communist nation's huge financial stake in the game:

  • Interestingly, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was slammed in August for his silence on human rights abuses in China while complaining about critics of national anthem protests.
  • Last month, legendary sports announcer Bob Costas ripped the NBA, basketball superstar LeBron James, and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for their lack of criticism of China's human rights record.
  • A couple of years ago, Hong Kong protesters against China blasted James, saying quizzically that "Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights, but LeBron James supports totalitarianism?" James infamously called out then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for posting a pro-Hong Kong tweet, saying the exec "wasn't educated on the situation at hand" and that while "we all do have freedom of speech ... at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen." James added that "so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually, so just be careful what we tweet, what we say, and what we do."
  • By way of contrast, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom has been quite critical of China, delivering pro-Tibet remarks, condemning China's oppression of the Uyghurs, and blasting Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "brutal dictator." China removed Celtics games from Chinese TV in October 2021.
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