• Dave McGuire

Slave Labor Meets Pro Sports

The Clarksvillian

Nike leads the way by telling us they're fighting “against discrimination in communities worldwide.” Not only that but they are “working every day to erase the stain of racism and the damage of injustice.”

Is it just self-serving lip service, a flat lie, or both?

If true, why would their shoes be made by an oppressive and morally corrupt dictatorship? China is the flagship for so many evils that protesters and left-wing activists quickly reference as American shortcomings. Again, we're left wondering, is it intentional or ignorance?

The uniforms LeBron James and all the NBA players wear — the ones prepared with social justice messages stitched on the back — come from Nike. And the cotton used in making these jerseys is picked by slaves. Not workers being paid slave wages. Literal slaves.

It’s easy to find the information on your own. The Chinese Communists are eliminating the Uyghurs, a Turkish-speaking people who live in China’s Far West, from the face of the earth. In nearly identical fashion as the – gasp – Adolph Hitler led National Socialist Party of Germany.

The Chinese government has imprisoned more than a million Uyghur men in concentration camps, aborted and sterilized hundreds of thousands of the women, and openly sell the children — in batches of 100, no less — to Chinese factory owners as slave labor. Secret drone footage has revealed some of the brutality of this campaign. It shows hundreds of Uyghur men, handcuffed, blindfolded and heads shaved, being herded onto a train bound for a secret camp. Sound familiar? It should if you’ve seen any footage of NAZI Germany’s concentration camps.

And guess what? Some of these Uyghur slaves are the ones making NIKE basketball shoes with their famous swoosh included along the sides. These camps, called 'vocational training centers' by Chinese authorities, are alleged to be the sites of many human rights abuses, including widespread brainwashing and forced sterilization.

An Australian Strategic Policy Institute report published in March, “Uyghurs for Sale,” found Uyghur slave labor working in factories supplying 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing, shoe and automotive sectors, including Apple, GM, Gap — and Nike.

Yes, the same company that funds organizations asking for reparations for a practice that ended in the USA back in 1865 has actually used slave labor in China to make its products — and its profits — for many years leading up to today.

Like Nike, the pro-sports officials, owners and athletes of the NBA and NFL who are making big money off the China market have also turned a blind eye to the brutal oppression of minorities in the country. All the while making woke noises about how racist America is. And make no mistake – the two loudest voices are aware of these evil practices. Their initials are LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick.

I wonder if the same man who kneels to protest America’s slave-owning past might one day stand for the freedom of slaves in China? It was Uyghur slaves who might have stitched his Kaepernick brand of Air Force 1 shoes together. But this is the guy wearing pro-communist shirts in the open public. It's just another day for the reality of Kaepernick’s true beliefs.

Twenty years ago, the great philosopher, Thomas Sowell, who is black and a former Marxist, wrote a book called “Vision of the Anointed.” By anointed, he meant self-anointed people from academia, elite media and government, and he wrote they shelter themselves from scrutiny and policy with a veil of “moral certitude.”

While we wait for that moment of self-awareness to strike the young progressive, we at least have the bold Josh Hawley. Last week, Hawley tweeted: "At least 80 global companies have been tied to forced Uighur labor in China, from sportswear companies like Nike..", which was also included in a press release announcing the bill.

Speaking to Fox News, Hawley specifically called out the NBA and basketball icon LeBron James, who signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike in 2015 which Forbes reports will earn him over $1 billion by the time he's 64.

"I would challenge the NBA, [its Commissioner] Adam Silver, and all the endorsers of Nike products like LeBron to take a pledge that they will be slave-free, that they will not use in their product lines slave labor," he said. Those requests were ignored by the league and all of its players. Hawley called on lawmakers to back the Slave-Free Business Certification Act to protect the likes of Uighurs by "[creating] penalties for firms that fail basic minimum standards for human rights", among other measures.

The US government is continuing to address the use of Chinese slave labor. Those who labor under the delusion that America is the root of all the world’s evil will ignore this, of course, but it is a step in the right direction. As for Nike, it has pledged to donate “$100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.”

How about a better idea? Why don’t you take your blood money from the slave labor and open a factory in the US? Choose a site in the inner city, employ minorities, and provide jobs and a way out of poverty. It won’t happen. And if it does, it will be a tiny facility used as a showcase business. Of course, that’s how the Chinese handle their showcase facilities too.