Fox News is attacking the National Basketball Association again after it announced earlier this week that it would hold no games on Election Day in a move to further civic engagement. The league is planning other steps to spread election awareness, including scheduling all 30 teams to play the night before the midterms so that information about voting can be shared with fans.
This isn't the first time the NBA has made an effort to encourage civic engagement from its fans. Previously, the NBA opened up its arenas as voting centers in the 2020 election, the product of an agreement between the league and the players union following protests over racial injustice.
FoxNews.com posted an article Tuesday afternoon quoting professional player and current free agent Enes Kanter Freedom, a vocal critic of the league’s business ties in China. While the league claimed to be promoting civic engagement in the U.S., he said, “do they care to comment about a dictatorship they are profiting off of?”
Kanter Freedom actually did not object to taking the day off for Election Day. Indeed, he added that he believed Election Day should be a federal holiday for everyone. But, he further claimed, “the NBA subliminally encourages players to vote a certain party.”
Taken at face value, Kanter Freedom’s individual criticism of the NBA and its financial ties to countries with bad human rights records certainly seems valid. Fox News, on the other hand, can hardly be considered a good-faith actor in this discussion, as was blatantly revealed during a panel discussion on Wednesday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends.
The show brought on OutKick.com founder Clay Travis, who claimed that upcoming voter awareness events at NBA games leading up to the election would “lecture all of us about left-wing politics,” further complaining that the audience “loves watching basketball, and just doesn't want to be marinated in this woke culture.” According to Travis, the league should instead feature talks on “American exceptionalism and how America is the greatest country in the history of the world, the most welcoming, the least racist, let's all celebrate our privilege and good fortune to live here,” further adding, “The problem is the Democrat Party and woke politics in general essentially is founded on the principle now of everything is racist and America is awful, and that is what I believe the day before Election Day will be spent parroting in the NBA.”
Travis also echoed Kanter Freedom’s charge of hypocrisy in the NBA. “Because they will rip American institutions and values to the high heavens,” Travis said, “but then they’ll hop on jets and go play in the UAE, for instance, where if you’re gay you can be beheaded.”
“Of course they’ll never mention China or any other country’s global failings,” he added.
But right after the panel calling out the NBA, co-host Brian Kilmeade switched topics to efforts by golfing legend Tiger Woods and the PGA to criticize the Saudi-funded LIV golf tournament. (Woods has also rejected offers of reportedly over $700 million to play for LIV.)
“Is he making the right move for him?” Kilmeade asked. “What do you think the correct strategy is if you’re the PGA?”
Travis then explained his belief that PGA and LIV would be headed for an eventual merger after some period of rivalry, similar to what happened in professional football between the NFL and the AFL in the 1960s.
“I feel like that is where the golf world is heading,” Travis said, “given the amount of money and backing and support that LIV has been able to put together.”
Despite all of the panel’s previous discussion of human rights abuses in China and Travis’ invocation of atrocities against LGBTQ people in the United Arab Emirates, the whole crew never bothered to mention that the LIV golf tournament is a project financed by the Saudi government’s sovereign wealth fund. The despotic Saudi regime has committed inumerable human rights abuses against dissidents, immigrants, journalists, women, and LGBTQ people. (Freedom House rates Saudi Arabia as one of the least free countries in the world, with the Kingdom ranking even lower than China.) That would be where the “amount of money” running the LIV tournament has come from, and to which Travis referred. (LIV’s identity has also become closely tied to MAGA politics by holding one of its events at former President Donald Trump’s resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, plus scheduling its finale event at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida, following the PGA’s decision to pull out of Bedminster following the January 6 insurrection.)
Kanter Freedom claimed he had seen “coaches lose jobs who expressed conservative values,” a quote that FoxNews.com prominently featured in its sub-headline despite him providing zero evidence to substantiate the claim. Meanwhile, Fox News itself has a long history of trashing professional athletes who protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem at games.
In addition, the NBA is already known to have the most racially diverse and Democratic-leaning fan base of all the major sports. It should be obvious that this fact is primarily motivating Fox News’ objections to efforts to mobilize the league’s fans as voters.
And on the subject of calling out dictatorships in other countries, Fox News has also been all too eager to support imposing one in this country.