A sign company made a decision to not accept advertising that mocked LeBron James’ refusal to speak out against China human rights abuses.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) in Virginia wanted to post images showing James with a Chinese flag covering his mouth with the message, “Silence is Violence.”
If it had gotten approved, the billboards would’ve been displayed near the entrance to the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida, where James’s Lakers are facing off against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The ad company said it would only run the ads without James’s Image.
Peter Flaherty, chairman of the NLPC, said, “When it comes to human rights in China, silence is indeed violence. We should be able to call LeBron on his hypocrisy without this censorship.”
James came under fire in 2019 when he criticized the Houston Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey for expressing his support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation,” James said at the time. The comments sparked outrage among Hong Kong protesters who would soon be seen burning his jersey.
The NLPC says James has been silent about the Chinese “slave labor” that makes the basketball legend’s Nike sneakers, which retail for $200 a pair.