HomeSportsWarriors Co-Owner Under Fire for Comments on Uyghur Genocide

Warriors Co-Owner Under Fire for Comments on Uyghur Genocide


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Golden State Warriors minority owner and Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya speaks onstage during “The State of the Valley: Where’s the Juice?” in 2016.

Chamath Palihapitiya may not be a name that’s immediately recognizable to your average NBA fan, but it’s a big one for the Golden State Warriors. In 2010, the venture capitalist chipped in $25 million to become one of the franchise’s co-owners with Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and others.

Palihapitiya continues to hold a minority stake in the Warriors to this very day. So, when he made a series of insensitive remarks about human rights abuses against the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority in Northwest China, it set off alarm bells in the Bay Area, around the hoops blogosphere and beyond.

This is what Palihapitiya had to say to co-host Jason Calacanis about the situation in China during an episode of their podcast, All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg:

“Let’s be honest, 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. I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line.”


Palihapitiya Didn’t Stop There


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Palihapitiya’s podcast is one that covers topics ranging from economics and politics to the tech industry and, as the show’s name implies, poker. And as he continued to comment on the situation, which the US State Department has deemed a genocide, the 45-year-old seemed to indicate that he’s much more concerned about those other things.

“I care about [empty shelves at stores]. I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan. I care about that,” Palihapitiya said. “I care about climate change. I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure.

He then proceeded to double down on his comments about the Uyghur people not really being on his radar.

“If you’re asking 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. 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.”

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Warriors Issue a Denouncing Statement, Palihapitiya Apologizes

In response to Palihapitiya’s remarks, the Warriors came out with the following statement:

“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.”

Amid the backlash, Palihapitiya took to Twitter to issue an apology, noting that his statements lacked empathy.

“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I came across as lacking empathy. I acknowledge that entirely. As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience.

“To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States or elsewhere. Full stop.”

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