A tweet from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey provoked Chinese TV into banning an upcoming NBA game. So instead of talking about Uighur concentration camps, the murder of Chinese protestors, or the upcoming trade war, US media is asking about the future of NBA-China relations.
NARRATOR Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted out quote, “Fight for freedom stand with Hong Kong,” end quote. The violence in Hong Kong is intensifying and the Chinese government is increasing their crackdown on anti-government protests that have been going on in Hong Kong since March. Now an estimated 800 million NBA fans in China won’t be able to watch the exhibition games being played in their country this week. China’s state broadcaster canceled planned showings of the games over that tweet and the NBA’s reaction.
ADAM SILVER This afternoon CCTV announced that because of my remarks supporting Darryl Morey’s freedom of expression. Not the substance of his statement but his freedom of expression. They were no longer going to air the Lakers Nets preseason games that are scheduled for later this week. Again it’s not something we expected to happen. I think it’s unfortunate. But, if that’s the consequences of us adhering to our values, we still feel it’s critically important we adhere to those values.
NARRATOR Morey’s tweet carries extra significance because the retired Chinese basketball player Yao Ming played for the Houston Rockets. He has since apologized for the deleted tweet but that hasn’t stopped the controversy.
ADAM SILVER My plan all along has been to travel to Shanghai tomorrow, and I plan to attend the Lakers Nets game Thursday night. It’s my hope that when I’m in Shanghai I can meet with the appropriate officials and discuss where we stand, and again put those remarks from Daryl Morey and my remarks in an appropriate context of a many decades long relationship and see if we can find mutual respect for each other’s political systems and beliefs. But I’m a realist as well. And I recognize that this issue may not die down so quickly.
NARRATOR China Central Television known as CCTV owns the exclusive rights in China to broadcast the NBA season, and that begins this month.