The fallout from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey's pro-Hong Kong tweet earlier this month continues with Vice President Mike Pence calling out both the NBA and Nike for their stances—or his perceived lack thereof—toward China.
"Far too many American multinational corporations have kowtowed to the lure of China's money and markets by muzzling not only criticism of the Chinese communist party but even affirmative expressions of American value," Pence said today during a speech at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
Pence then turned his attention to the Swoosh: "Nike promotes itself as a so-called social justice champion, but when it comes to Hong Kong, it prefers checking its social conscience at the door. Nike stores in China actually removed their Houston Rockets merchandise from their shelves to join the Chinese government in protest against the Rockets' General Manager's seven-word tweet, which read, 'fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.'"
The vice president also took aim at the NBA and unnamed "biggest players and owners," claiming they've sided with China and been "silencing free speech" by not taking a more direct stance.
While Nike hasn't issued a statement on the most recent controversy, it did cancel its June Undercover x Daybreak collaboration in China after a social media post in support of Hong Kong made by designer Jun Takahashi. The brand did not immediately return a request for comment on Pence's speech.