Newble has started collecting signatures from teammates and from other players in the NBA and will present an open letter in a few weeks to the Chinese Government and to the president of the International Olympic Committee to protest China's role in the Sudan. The letter will also be posted on DreamforDarfur.org.
"It's a protest to wake people up," Newble said. "China has the 2008 Olympics and that's an event that will have the attention of the world. It'll be known that many NBA players are expressing their concern about this issue. China has a large NBA fan base. This will definitely get their attention."
Newble would not reveal names, but he said many of his teammates have either signed the letter or they are undergoing further study before making a commitment to the protest. Newble also said this is not a boycott of the Olympics and the protest is not sanctioned by the NBA.
"I don't have a specific number of signatures," Newble said. "Any signature from an NBA player will make a difference. Obviously, the more All-Stars that sign will have a greater impact. But I'm just trying to get as many signatures as I can and bring attention to the travesty going on in Darfur and hopefully change China's current policy."
The protest is directed at China because the Chinese government is the chief buyer of Sudanese oil and the Sudanese government uses proceeds from those sales to fund weapons (some manufactured by China) for the Janjaweed militia. China has used its veto power on the U.N. Security Council to stop efforts by the U.S. to introduce peacekeepers to protect the civilians.
Newble seems like one of the more socially conscious players (Branson Wright often goes to him for current event quotes) and this is definitely a good thing.
There really isn't much activism or social awareness in professional sports and I applaud Newble for speaking out (speaking of athletes with opinions, here's an interview with Charles Barkley).
I really wonder if Newble's gotten LeBron to sign the petition (as LeBron comes from Michael Jordan school of not pissing anyone off- though it's not exactly risky to come out against genocide, angering China when you want to be a "global icon" by the Olympics is a different matter).
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