Exodus 3 and 4, spoken in a recent church service, is timely:
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
Can Steve Kerr and the NBA do better on China?
China, estimated to account for 15 percent of league revenue, which corresponds directly to player salaries. China, where the superstars annually flock to in the offseason for extensive sneaker sale tours. China, which hosts annual NBA preseason games, whether they televise them or not. China, where the last FIBA championship was held last month. Nobody in the NBA knows a thing about the place, somehow. It’s like all anyone affiliated with league remembers about China is how to cash its checks.
Many people, mostly on the political right, are having fun with the predicament Kerr now finds himself in, given past statements like the one above. They do have a point, even if many of the people jeering care more about scoring that point than making it. Kerr has said that free speech is important, but cannot bring himself to defend Morey’s? He won’t get deeply into why he refuses, even though we can guess. Is this hypocritical? Probably. It’s perhaps understandable hypocrisy under the circumstances. Maybe he wants to ensure the safety of the players returning from China. Maybe it’s about protecting the Warriors’ interests.
Let’s say it is hypocrisy. Now what? A lot of social media discussion feeds off the hunt of hypocrisy as an end game. The way it’s played is that you capture your out-group’s hypocrisy for the pleasure of your in-group. The unstated goal of the hunt is to rob your foe of moral authority, in hopes that nobody will ever listen to them ever again.
Nobody really wins the hypocrisy game, other than clout seekers. Kerr will continue to speak and if people agree with what he’s saying, they’re likely to resonate to it. Merely mocking Kerr and the other NBA figures for their silence doesn’t often convey a sense of how certain matters should be handled.
On this, I have some ideas. Of course, I’m just some guy, not a high-level international diplomat, and not an NBA accountant who grasps the true impact of what happens when and if the $1.5 billion Tencent contract gets ripped to shreds.
My personal preference is for the NBA to break from its relationship with China and end an immense moral compromise that has seeped into the domestic sphere. That’s not exactly realistic, though, so I’ll try my best at making some productive suggestions within the current parameters. I mostly make them because I’m disappointed in how people within the NBA, people whom I have respect and admiration for, are handling this admittedly difficult situation.