NBA China, defends “freedom of expression” for employees, while China tries to block matches. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league did not censor players or administration staff, saying that “freedom of expression” was paramount for the league, which was criticized for its response to the tweet. . an employee about pro-democracy protests in Hong Kon
Silver says the NBA is not apologizing for a tweet now removed from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who has pushed the NBA into turmoil since his business in China in recent days.
The NBA’s original statement:
Recognize that [Morey’s views] have deeply offended many in China, which is regrettable.
Translation it posted on Chinese social media:
Extremely disappointed in Morey’s inappropriate statement. No doubt he’s severely hurt the feelings of CN fans. pic.twitter.com/pi5PdQq3q9
— Yiqin Fu (@yiqinfu) October 7, 2019
“The NBA’s longstanding values are to support freedom of expression and certainly the freedom of expression of NBA community members,” said Silver, speaking at a press conference held near Tokyo on Tuesday.
“And in this case, Daryl Morey as general manager of the Houston Rockets enjoys this right as one of our employees,” adds Silver.
Morey said on Sunday that he did not intend to offend anyone with his tweet expressing support for mass protests in Hong Kong. The tweet was quickly removed after it was sent on Friday, but not before it attracted widespread attention in both China and the United States.
But the same day that Morey spoke, the Chinese Basketball Association, led by former Houston Rockets Center and NBA Hall of Fame member Yao Ming, suspended its activities in the Rockets franchise.
And Scott Neuman of NPR said: “Tencent, an NBA media partner in China, has signed a five-year, $ 1.5 billion broadcast deal, and China’s national television has announced that it will not broadcast Rockets games. ”
Initially, the NBA and other Rockets officials tried to stand out from Morey’s tweet. This includes a statement by NBA spokesman Mike Bass that the league was aware that Morey’s comments “have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is unfortunate.”
Critics also disagree with the NBA on their message, saying the league had issued a separate statement in Mandarin stating that some bilingual speakers said it went beyond the English version and appeared to apologize on behalf of Morey. Before Silver’s speech in Japan on Tuesday, the league’s response was deemed insufficient by many people in the western and eastern hemispheres.
In the United States, critics accuse the NBA of privileging profits over principles. And critics in China have also cried a lot, claiming that the League was insensitive in dealing with an issue that divides politically.
All of this forced the NBA commissioner to make another statement on Tuesday before his press conference, hoping to appease people who were “angry, confused or confused” by the league’s previous response.
Silver said the NBA would not start “regulating what players and team owners say.”
What is not so clear is the impact that the controversy could have on the future of the league’s expansion on one of its most important international markets.
“We will have to bear these consequences,” said Silver. “I hope that our Chinese fans and our partners in China will see these comments in the context of a relationship of three decades, if not more,”
In addition to Chinese actions against the Rockets, China’s state-owned CCTV TV has announced that it will not broadcast matches between Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, which are expected to start two games this week from Thursday, the Associated Press reports.