TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to the ongoing controversy over the NBA's enabling Communist China's repression of its members' freedom of speech and Charles Barkley's subservience to Beijing, an American illustrator has created a cartoon contrasting a Robert F. Kennedy civil rights speech delivered in 1963 and Martin Luther King Jr.'s reaction with Vice President Mike Pence's speech and Barkley's crude response.
Allan Rios, 42, who goes by the pen name Dedoshucos, told Taiwan News that he created the cartoon because he found it extraordinarily ironic for Barkley to exercise his right to freedom of speech, which was granted by the sacrifices of civil right activists like Kennedy and King, to just shut someone up who was speaking out to protect minority rights.
"How quickly new generations take for granted liberties hard-fought by earlier generations," Rios said, "And how easily do people sacrifice the rights of other minorities when it suits them economically."
Rios says that the frame at the top of the cartoon depicts Robert Kennedy giving a civil rights speech in 1963 calling for the protection of minorities in America, with King responding by saying "Speak up brother." In contrast, Vice President Mike Pence is shown below delivering a speech on October 24, 2019, calling for the protection of the rights of minorities in China, with retired NBA player Charles Barkley telling him to "SHUT DA HELL UP!"