Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) unloaded on NBA superstar LeBron James for his remarks regarding the league’s ongoing free speech scandal with China, stating that his “garbage” comments are “hard to take.”
“Having just been in Hong Kong – on the streets & with the protestors – this kind of garbage is hard to take. LeBron, are YOU educated on “the situation”? Why don’t you go to Hong Kong? Why don’t you meet the people there risking their lives for their most basic liberties,” Hawley wrote on Twitter.
This statement is unbelievable. “So many people could have been harmed”? By Daryl Morey daring to express sympathy for democracy? News flash: people ARE being harmed – shot, beaten, gassed – right now in Hong Kong. By China. By the Communist Party the NBA is so eager to appease
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 15, 2019
This statement is unbelievable. “So many people could have been harmed”? By Daryl Morey daring to express sympathy for democracy? News flash: people ARE being harmed – shot, beaten, gassed – right now in Hong Kong. By China. By the Communist Party the NBA is so eager to appease.
Earlier Monday, LeBron broke his silence on the NBA-China scandal by criticizing Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s now-deleted tweet in support of the pro-democracy movement sweeping Hong Kong, calling him uneducated on the subject, while warning against the “ramifications” of free speech.
James told reporters:
We all talk about freedom of speech — yes, we do have freedom of speech. But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking about yourself.
The hoops star added:
I don’t believe — I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand. And he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially but emotionally, physically and spiritually. So just be careful with what we tweet and what we say and what we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech. But there can be a lot of negative that comes from that speech.
James didn’t play when the Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on Monday night, just two days after they returned from their bizarre trip to China.
A typical NBA preseason promotional swing through Shanghai and Shenzhen became something else when Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters while the Lakers were in the air on their 13-hour flight to China.
The Lakers landed amid outrage with Morey’s since-deleted tweet and the NBA in general. The league and Chinese authorities decided to hold no media availability or community events with the Lakers or the Brooklyn Nets, their opponents.
The Lakers passed their week in China in public silence. Although the exhibition games weren’t canceled, the league claimed it would be unfair to ask players and coaches to speak on the delicate geopolitical argument in which they found themselves involuntarily enmeshed.
So the players spent most of the week in hotels or on the court, with two NBA Cares events, a fan event, and other public appearances canceled by the league or the government. Several companies and state-run offices reportedly severed their ties with the NBA over Morey’s tweet and the league’s response to it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.