NBA Caves to China on Hong Kong Protests

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Getty Images/Andy Lyons

The National Basketball Association came to the side of the oppressive Chinese government and delivered a sharp rebuke to Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey, after he tweeted his support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

Over the weekend, Morey tweeted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” siding with the pro-democracy forces facing down Chinese security forces that have been flooding into Hong Kong from mainland China.

But the pro-democracy tweet brought immediate rebuke from officials in the NBA and even from Morey’s own team. Morey soon deleted the tweet and apologized.

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey insisted.

Regardless, the league quickly pushed out a statement slapping Morey down and trying to make amends with their business partners in China.

We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together

This is the same league that canceled games in North Carolina because the Tar Heel State had a “human rights abusing” transgender bathroom law. But they seem to have no problem with China, one of the most oppressive nations in the world with one of the worst human rights records of any modern nation.

Maybe it’s all because of the money the NBA is making as it tries to expand into foreign markets?

The repercussions of Morey’s tweet and the NBA’s response have been reverberating all across the league.

Immediately, there were stories claiming that Morey could be fired for daring to support the democracy movement in Hong Kong, though the NBA, at least, said there will be no official action taken against the GM for his tweet.
Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta told ESPN that Morey’s job is not in jeopardy.
The Chinese Basketball Association also jumped into action and officially cut ties with the Houston Rockets.

Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis wondered if some of the NBA’s most “woke” would respond:

Travis also wondered is super woke ESPN, which is broadcasting from China this week, will side with democracy or with oppressors:

But while the NBA seems prepared to side with human rights abusers in China, a bi-partisan group of politicians do not, including pols who usually stand on the opposite side of the issues, such as Ted Cruz and Eric Swalwell.

Senator Ben Sasse (R, Neb) also took a stick to the NBA saying the league’s shameful apology for Morey’s tweet puts the concerns of the oppressive Chinese government and the NBA’s lust for money ahead of democracy for Hong Kong.

“Basketball fans and the American people more broadly should have absolutely no doubt about what is happening here: The NBA wants money, and the Communist Party of China is asking them to deny the most basic of human rights. In response, the NBA issued a statement saying money is the most important thing,” Sasse said in a statement Monday morning.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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