2020 has been a year where corporate entities try their best to act as if they truly care about the issues that affect minorities. It has led to some truly hilarious attempts at bridging the cultural gap, that is for sure.
Streaming services decided to take down harmless episodes that depict characters in blackface, while other corporations issued the requisite “acknowledging our privilege” statement.
A league like the NBA was always going to be in a very sticky spot. As a league full of black players, they needed to make a strong statement. It should have gone without saying that they would stand with their players. We all expected that. What we did not expect was that they would be surprised by what happened next.
The NBA loves their Christmas Day tradition, as this is the day when many of the top teams are scheduled to play against one another. They surely expected a ratings bonanza. Everyone would be at home and be ready to sink their teeth into some basketball.
While the “bubble season” just ended back in October, many of the league’s non-contenders have been waiting to get back onto the court since the first March shutdown.
LeBron James, who has been known to remain outspoken about American issues, could not draw in the ratings for the Lakers-Mavericks game. His Chinese investors are sure to be furious but what can you do? The NBA is about to learn a very hard lesson about what happens when you are willing to dedicate your league to the woke crowd.
Sure, you may receive a few flowery posts praising you on social media but these people are not the ones who are tuning into the games. They are social justice warriors who are only looking to praise those who behave in a woke manner, they could not care less about the actual ballgames. It shows in the ratings and the NBA has a serious problem on their hands.
“NBA Christmas Day ratings were off 21% from last year. NFL dunked on NBA head to head, nearly quadrupling the NBA audience,” tweeted Clay Travis. He went on to throw another jab at the size of the audience that the NBA has in China.
To be fair, the NBA had more viewers in communist China, however.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 26, 2020
That’s probably why the league does not seem outwardly worried about what is going on.
They know that they have the Chinese monies to fall back on. It may seem like it happened a lifetime ago but we all remember what happened when Houston Rockets GM (who is now with the Philadelphia 76ers) Daryl Morey criticized China. The NBA was warned that any further rhetoric of this nature would be met with an aggressive response from the Chinese.
Did they stand up for themselves? No, of course not. Morey was essentially told to sit down and shut up by LeBron James. James is in the process of preparing his Space Jam sequel and clearly does not want the Chinese market to turn their backs on him.
The NBA should be worried but they are not and this is their own fault.
The ratings speak volumes.
Last year, the Lakers-Clippers Christmas Day game drew 7 million viewers. This year’s edition only drew 4 million viewers. Americans are tired of all the political mumbo jumbo and they are starting to feel like they never get a break from it. Why would anyone want to turn on their television and be subjected to more of the same old same?
Sports are supposed to function as an escape from the issues that plague us during daily life. They are not here to serve as a reminder. This is a lesson that the NBA has yet to learn but maybe a few more weeks of lower ratings will drive it home.
Until then, they will simply have to hope that the Chinese are able to help them make up for any revenues that they may lose as a result of their woke turn.