Update: This article has been edited to include the statement from the Golden State Warriors.
The minority owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and CEO of venture capital firm Social Capital Chamath Palihapitiya said in an interview with the All-In podcast that the genocide of the Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang region is "below" his "line" of things he cares about.
"Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uyghurs. You bring it up, because you really care, and I think that's nice that you care. The rest of us don't care," said Palihapitiya, who called it a "very hard, ugly truth."
"Of all the things that I care about, yes, it's below my line," he continued to say.
All-In co-host David Sacks responded by saying that it was not at the top of people's minds, to which Palihapitiya, who owns 10 percent of the NBA franchise, responded: "That's not caring … I care about the fact that our economy can turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan. I care about climate change. I care about America's crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure. But if you ask 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."
"And I think a lot of people believe that and I'm sorry if that's a hard truth to hear but every time I say that I 'care about the Uyghurs,' I'm really just lying if I don't really care and so I rather not lie to you and tell you the truth. It's not a priority for me," Palihapitiya continued.
Palihapitiya said that he cared about pressing issues such as climate change, and the effects that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could have on the US. He added that he would perhaps care after America fixed its own problems.
A statement from the Warrior's PR Twitter said that Mr. Palihapitiya "does not speak on behalf of [the Golden State Warriors] franchise," and that he has "no day-to-day operating functions" with the franchise.
He becomes the latest figure related to the NBA to express questionable views of the atrocities of the Chinese government. In 2020, the NBA received harsh criticism over training centers in the Xinjiang region, where the genocide is taking place.
Superstar LeBron James, who has businesses tied to the China market, has come under repeated fire for his comments on the Chinese government.
When then-Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted about fighting for freedom amid pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, James said: "We do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negatives that come with that too."
The NBA is the most watched sports league in China.