Adam Silver: It’s on U.S. government whether American companies, like NBA, operate in China

Politicians have repeatedly criticized the NBA for its involvement in China.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is defending his league.

Sopan Deb of The New York Times:

Adam Silver today on China: “At the end of the day, I think those are decisions are for our government, in terms of where American businesses should operate. I continue to believe that the people to people exchanges we’re seeing by playing in China are positive and it’s helping.”

Senators have power to affect the United State’s foreign policy, including where American companies are permitted to operate. The NBA shouldn’t face unique scrutiny for acting like a business, seeking to maximize profit, within legal parameters.

Silver is generally right: There is value in exposing American values to countries with authoritarian regimes. Basketball can be a good vehicle for doing so. Those connections can inspire change for the better.

But the league has repeatedly failed to uphold American values it espouses in its dealings in China. That warrants criticism and leaves Silver’s response quite lacking.