The Houston Rockets are taking criticism for a new video posted to Twitter showing several players wishing “all the Chinese fans” a happy Chinese New Year.
Led by James Harden, the video also features Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, P.J. Ticker, Austin Rivers, Danuel House Jr., and Gerald Green, all wishing “the Chinese fans” a happy new year.
“To all the Chinese fans, we appreciate your love and support,” Westbrook and then Harden say at the outset of the short video. Then, one by one, the players say “Xīn nián kuài lè,” which is happy new year in China’s main language, Mandarin.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 24, 2020
But the new year salutations to Chinese fans did not sit well with many Americans, especially after coming off last year’s controversy over the NBA’s obscene support for the Chinese government during its brutal moves to quash the pro-democracy movement in Chinese-controlled Hong Kong.
Many fans were not happy with the Chinese New Year tweet, with many wondering why the Rockets put up a tweet of this nature since Twitter had been banned in China. Others once again took a slap at the team for showing deference to China:
Twitter is banned in China.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) January 24, 2020
Twitter is blocked in China though! Rip wishes
— Hala madrid (@Hala_mad_rid) January 24, 2020
They won't see this, Twitter is banned in China ya dummies.
— Kybernetx (@Kybernetx) January 24, 2020
translates to… "watch out for tanks" pic.twitter.com/MJ0TgduqOC
— tommy bolt (@tomasbolt58) January 24, 2020
— CAPSLOCK HUSTLA 🌎 (@CAPSLOCKHUSTLER) January 24, 2020
Ya’ll look like hostages
— Alex (@lokyouup) January 24, 2020
Well done Comrade pic.twitter.com/xMpcf7SGn0
— Last of the Saracino's (@SovereignNiche) January 24, 2020
Better red than dead, right Rockets?
— Kimmy Jong (@thesmugglerdav1) January 24, 2020
Please your Chinese overlords
— Doctor Why 🏴☠️ (@NoEyeContact) January 24, 2020
The team took slings and arrows last October when Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, but was soon called on the carpet by the league for upsetting the Chinese government for siding with pro-democracy forces.
Many fans were incensed at the NBA’s kowtowing to China and subsequent TV ratings crashed on the heels of the controversy.
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