Many U.S. athletes have been outspoken in their political positions against President Trump, but the same community has been largely silent in their criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping in light of violent protests currently overtaking the streets of Hong Kong, explained Fox Business host Stuart Varney.
"Athletes have no problem criticizing President Trump, but they are unwilling to criticize China's communist dictator. There's a glaring double standard here," Varney said on Fox Nation's "My Take."
Many athletes were "eager" to speak out against Trump, said the Fox Business host, including NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who went viral for kneeling during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a protest of racial injustice and police brutality. Kaepernick’s actions sparked an onslaught of praise and criticism from NFL fans and even drew a reaction from President Trump.
U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe also used her platform for political activism, often sending direct blows to the Trump administration. Before her team's FIFA Women's World Cup win in July, Rapinoe said she's "not going to the f---ing White House," and questioned whether the women's squad would even be invited.
"They all felt free to insult President Trump and call him names. Indeed, many were eager to join the Trump-hating mob," Varney said.
Contrasting the outspokenness of athletes on U.S. issues to those in China, Varney questioned why many have remained silent in their criticism of Xi Jinping and blamed them for sacrificing American principles in order to remain in business with communist China.
"Where are the athletes willing to stand up and even mildly criticize Xi Jinping and what he's doing to the young protestors in Hong Kong?" Varney asked.
Pro-democracy protestors have been flooding the streets of Hong Kong in an escalation of violence since early June, over a now-shelved extradition bill that activists say was an example of how Hong Kong's freedoms and citizen rights are being eroded.
In a rare moment for the community, an E-sports athlete appeared on TV in a gas mask to support the protestors in Hong Kong, but was suspended for a year and forced to return his prize money, Varney explained.
In a related incident, Nets owner Joseph Tsai called a tweet "damaging" after the general manager of the Houston Rockets expressed minor criticism of the Chinese president, and the Rockets were forced to apologize and offer their support.
The difference between the outspokenness of athletes on matters concerning the U.S. and China all boils down to money, explained Varney.
"Insult President Trump and an athlete pays no price...so they do a lot of Trump-bashing," he said.
"Criticize Xi Jinping," Varney continued, "and the world comes down on you. The athlete and the team stand to lose a lot of money so the players stay silent, or cravenly apologize."
Varney doubled down on his call for athletes to speak up, suggesting that they have a moral obligation, despite a "financially understandable" silent position.
"It is financially understandable," said Varney, "but when you see Muslims held in camps in Western China and riot police shootings protestors on the streets of Hong Kong, you have to wonder at the deafening silence from the sporting world," he concluded.
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