Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley exude hypocrisy for criticizing the NBA’s dealings with China

Tennessee junior senator Marsha Blackburn said in a video posted on her Twitter account that she had received a response from the NBA regarding the letter she wrote to NBA commissioner Adam Silver in June, ” Concern about her relationship in China and how she expressed “Benefit from doing business in China. “

She emphasized the word “profit” as if it were some kind of vulgarity.

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This is not a new course for the senator. She made sure everyone knew about the letter she sent to the NBA in June that said, “The actions of the NBA and some players have created an appearance where your league prioritizes winning over the principle . “

The problem seems to be that it emphasizes the look over the principle.

The NBA has become a target for certain politicians as it begins its return from the pandemic with an explicit commitment to promoting social justice – a promise that manifests itself in the slogan “Black Lives Matter”, which is stenciled on the main course that will be used for the completion of the regular season and the NBA playoffs.

Josh Hawley of Blackburn and Missouri was one of the loudest when it came to using the NBA’s business relationships in China to uncover a kind of double standard regarding the league and its public conscience.

Hawley complained that the list of approved statements – agreed by the League and the NBA Players Association – contained nothing on the order of “Free Hong Kong” and instead focused on domestic affairs: “I cannot breathe”; “Say their names”; “Equal rights.”

However, if one of the senators wants to complain about a double standard, he should consider his own actions regarding companies in the countries he represents that do a tremendous amount of business in China.

In fact, there were no obvious actions.

Blackburn published a 52-page white paper entitled “Pandemic-Era Policymaking and the Future of United States-China Relations”, which is available for download from its website. It is not an easy conversation. In a video tweet about the paper, she said, “We have to deal with unraveling these myriad relationships with China.”

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While scanning these 52 pages and doing a word search, I found no mention of FedEx, the No. 70 company in the Fortune 500 based in Memphis, and therefore difficult for a Tennessee senator to forget. Speaking to analysts reporting on the company, FedEx said in 2019 that its operations in China would generate sales of $ 1.3 billion.

Not that the senator should criticize this. A large majority of U.S.-based companies do extensive business in China. But if she wants to blow up the NBA, should FedEx’s business interests escape her attention? In particular, given the fact that the company sued the Trump administration in 2019 over a trade rule dispute that requires FedEx to inspect every package shipped out of the country.

Anheuser-Busch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is also based in Hawley’s home state, but does a significant amount of business in China. But there was no noticeable public criticism from Hawley about the company, or its decision to outsource its Asia Pacific business last year as part of a massive IPO.

Again, there is nothing wrong with selling Budweiser in China. This is how global business works. The selective indignation of the senator is problematic.

It was significant that, although the NBA agreed to respond to Senator Blackburn’s letter, Silver passed the responsibility on to one of his subordinates. She didn’t seem to care. But it wasn’t really worth the time or attention.

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