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Warriors distance themselves from minority owner after Uyghurs comment

Palihapitiya's role with the Warriors was downplayed by the organizationGETTY IMAGES

The Warriors have "distanced themselves" from minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya, who declared on a recent podcast appearance that "nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs," according to Jason Owens of YAHOO SPORTS. Palihapitiya made the statement while speaking on the "All In" technology podcast that he co-hosts. Palihapitiya on the podcast said of the Uyghurs, "You bring it up because you really care. And I think it's nice that you care. The rest of us don't care." Palihapitiya: "I'm just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line." The Warriors released a statement yesterday "downplaying Palihapitiya's role with the organization and distancing the franchise from his views." The statement said, "As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions ... Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization." Palihapitiya released his own statement: "I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy. ... To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/17). In S.F., Ron Kroichick noted Palihapitiya "reportedly owns a 2% interest" in the Warriors. Celtics C Enes Kanter Freedom, who has been "outspoken on human rights issues," posted a video of Palihapitiya’s yesterday on Twitter. Freedom also criticized the NBA, which has "remained largely silent on its ties to China amid the reported human rights abuses there" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/17).

DUBIOUS APOLOGY: CNBC’s Joe Kernen said of Palihapitiya's comments, “If you don't believe it's happening, fine. But if you really do know it's happening, would you say something like that?” Kernen added in China, there are “more basketball fans than we have people in the United States, so there's got to be something to that.” CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin said, “If you watched (the podcast), there's no denying what he's meaning, and the apology can't even be an apology based on what he said.” CNBC’s Becky Quick: "You could see he said something, got beat up about it for that, started backpedaling" (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 1/18).

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