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“Shark Tank” co-host and billionaire Mark Cuban has no qualms about doing business with communist China despite the country’s litany of alleged human rights violations.
Speaking with Megyn Kelly on “The Megyn Kelly Show,” the Dallas Mavericks owner could not understand why people might be critical of the fact that the NBA would be willing to ignore China’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims, Hong Kong protesters, and Christians.
“The question remains, why won’t you and the NBA explicitly condemn that?” she asked.
“I personally put a priority on domestic issues. I’m against human rights violations around the world,” he responded.
“Including the ones in China?” Kelly asked.
“China is not the only country with human rights violations,” Cuban replied.
“Including China, Mark?” she fired back.
“Yes, including China. Any human rights violations anywhere are wrong,” Cuban admitted.
As the interview went on, Kelly asked why the NBA would “take $500 million dollars-plus from a country that is engaging in ethnic cleansing?”
“So basically, you’re saying that nobody should do business with China ever?” Cuban said in defense.
“They are a customer. They are a customer of ours. And guess what, Megyn? I’m okay with doing business with China,” he added, as reported by The Hill. “You know, I wish I could solve all the world’s problems, Megyn. I’m sure you do too. But we can’t. And so we have to pick our battles. And while you’d like to get proclamations so you can create a clip that says, ‘Look what I got Mark to say,’ you don’t want to deal with the actual action item.”
In the fall of 2019, the NBA ignited a firestorm of controversy when it apologized to the Chinese government after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed support for the pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters.
“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable,” NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said in a statemen at the time. “While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, however, claimed that the statement was never meant to be an apology.
“It bothered me that in saying we regretted upsetting hundreds of millions of Chinese fans while at the same time supporting Daryl Morey’s speech, it bothered me, I’d say, that it was interpreted as an apology to the Chinese government,” he told TMZ Sports. “We certainly didn’t apologize to the Chinese government. We supported Daryl from the get-go in terms of his ability to tweet. We also made clear that there were consequences from that speech. And, I think that was no doubt frustrating to a lot of people in the NBA community because it was incredibly disruptive.”