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Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware that one tweet (quickly deleted) from the General Manager of the Houston Rockets including the words “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” has reverberated around the world, and caused a firestorm of outrage from the Chinese government and US basketball fans after the NBA’s handling of the debacle.

In response, the NBA decided to muzzle its players and coaches currently on a pre-season tour of exhibition games in China, allowing no comment and no meetings with the media.

This week in the US, fans at Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers games have had their signs confiscated or been escorted out for criticizing China or supporting Hong Kong.

So much for freedom of expression.

Tyler Merritt, CEO of US company Nine Line Apparel, had harsh words for American companies like the NBA and Nike for caving to China, during an interview on Fox and Friends Friday morning.

Asked by host Jillian Mele if the NBA is letting China control the narrative in the US, Merritt replied “absolutely, emphatically yes.”

He went on to say, “This is a very progressive and liberal organization that has decided to double down with China. They have no problem speaking out against the President Trump’s pro-America, America first agendas. But when it affects their bottom line, and they’re obviously trying to grow that market cap in China, they have no problem silencing fans and these are fans that are just speaking out.”

“And one of their general managers speaking out saying hey we’re with you Hong Kong we’re with this idea that democracy should be able to grow and we live in a country where freedom of speech freedom of press freedom of is OK. And I think it’s something that we need to espouse to the world that this is the right way to treat other human beings. But instead the NBA, just like Nike, has decided that it’s pro-profit, not pro-values and that’s what we see here.”

Nine Line Apparel CEO Tyler Merritt on tensions between the NBA and China.

Mele pointed out that Nike quietly halted the sale of a range of sports shoes in China in June after its Japanese designer showed support for Hong Kong protests in an Instagram post.

Merritt slammed the decision saying, “If you look at Nike’s quarterly earnings reports you know they’re up double digits quarter after quarter. I think 10 billion dollars last year in the Greater China region. So they’ve said very emphatically they are a company by China for China, which I think is incredible for the CEO of an American-based company to say, but it’s true.”

Nine Line Apparel describes itself as “relentlessly patriotic” and has a created a range of clothing and products celebrating and defending American freedoms.

The company’s newest design says “By Patriots. For Patriots” in a direct response to the NBA and Nike’s cave to China.

One of its most popular shirts takes direct aim at the NFL kneelers and Nike. It’s emblazoned with a flag motif reminiscent of the Nike “swoosh” and two powerful words: “Just Stand.”

Of Nike, Merritt said, “I can’t fathom buying anything for my children from that organization. You know they don’t really have a set of values. They have now an idea of profit first.

And again, just like the NBA, that’s fine because Americans will vote with their dollars.”



By Patriots For Patriots

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Nine Line is an American Clothing Company with American made Apparel and Accessories- Veteran Owned and Operated