The NBA’s Golden State Warriors distanced themselves from comments made by co-owner Chamath Palihapitiya about the Uyghur genocide in China, CNN reports.
Palihapitiya made the comments on the “All-In Podcast” Saturday after co-host Jason Calacanis mentioned President Joe Biden’s strong stance on human rights abuses in China.
"Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uyghurs, okay? You bring it up because you really care, and I think it's nice that you care, the rest of us don't care," he said.
"I'm just telling you...a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line,” he added.
The hosts argued that the average person would care about the genocide.
"I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan ... I care about climate change ... I care about America's crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure,” Palihapitiya replied. "But if you're asking me: 'Do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country?' Not until we can take care of ourselves, will I prioritize them over us."
He added that interest in sustaining global human rights is a “luxury belief.”
"We don't do enough domestically to actually express that view in real, tangible ways," he said. "So until we actually clean up our own house, the idea that we step outside of our borders ... about somebody else's human rights track record, is deplorable."
Palihapitiya walks it back:
Palihapitiya, who owns 10% of the Warriors, walked back his comments on Twitter.
"Important issues deserve nuanced discussions,” he said. "In re-listening to this week's podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy. I acknowledge that entirely. As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience.”
"To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere,” he added. “Full stop."
"As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don't reflect those of our organization,” the team said in a statement.
The comments came under criticism on social media, including from NBA center Enes Kanter Freedom.
“When @NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like @chamath the owner of @warriors, who says ‘Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs’ When genocides happen, it is people like this that let it happen,” he tweeted. “Shame!”