Ahead of his radio program this afternoon, Stephen A. Smith clearly thought long and hard about Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors, the ensuing controversy and Morey’s subsequent backtracking, and the large-scale implications of all of the above on relationships between China and U.S.-based businesses. And then Smith went on the air and made some salient points about civil liberties, the “one country, two systems” policy, and the NBA’s potential complicity in censorship and oppression as a major economic partner with China. He spoke his mind, unafraid of the consequences that might follow from pointing out the faults of a powerful and powerfully sensitive economic power.
Just kidding! Smith yelled about how tweeting opinions on world affairs and supporting anti-authoritarian protests is childish, while taking a lot of awkward pauses in between half-formed thoughts. Check out the highlights:
Smith seems bothered, more than anything, by the possibility that the NBA or the Rockets might have lost some money because their GM tweeted what should have been seven innocuous words supporting Hong Kong protestors’ desire to reform policing and not be subject to mainland China’s jurisdiction. In his mind, it’s the tweet, and not any of the reasons for or actions around the protest, that serves as a reason to take offense.
“Daryl Morey, a good man, an exceptional executive, and a conscientious human being, what were you thinking speaking up on this issue?” Smith asked. “It’s about a multitude of people that extends far beyond yourself that you have compromised because you had this insatiable appetite to disseminate a tweet. You don’t know better than that?”
Smith bizarrely frames Morey’s low-key activism as something childish and immature. He believes it to be so because, he says, Morey’s urge to show support for the Hong Kong protestors was ... selfish? “You don’t just think about yourself before you act,” Smith blustered. “That’s what boys and girls do. That’s what children do.”
The core idea here looks like simple reflexive bootlicking but gets more outrageous the more you consider it. Smith is arguing that Morey, on his personal Twitter account, should not express any thoughts or beliefs that might cost his employer money.
“Daryl Morey had an obligation to think about the Houston Rockets organization and about the National Basketball Association before himself,” Smith said, loading in a bunch of punctuating pauses and Pacino-style emphasis. “You have an obligation to adopt and embrace the interest of those you collect a paycheck from.”
That’s simply not true. If Morey wants to stick to only the most milquetoast tweets possible in an effort to keep his job, that would be his call—every worker makes some sort of moral sacrifice to earn money, including this blogger. But anyone who earnestly thinks that they should put their employers’ interests ahead of their own as a matter of principle is, among other things, a sucker, primarily because no company on earth is ever going to reciprocate. Morey is under no obligation to embrace the interests of the Trump-supporting cheapskate ghoul who signs his paychecks, and Stephen A. trying to claim the moral high ground by defending the honor of the NBA brand is far more immature than anything Morey could ever tweet. It’s an attempt at cold-eyed realism from someone who seems not to understand how any of this works in the real world.