NBA slammed for ‘shameful retreat’ over Hong Kong protest tweet
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has come under fire after distancing itself from comments made by one of its team’s senior executives in support of protests in Hong Kong.
Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, was forced to apologise after his hastily-deleted tweet sparked anger in Beijing.
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“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offence to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey wrote in a tweet. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event.”
The NBA issued a statement describing the comments as “inappropriate” after two major Chinese sponsors suspended work with the Rockets, while the team’s games were dropped by China’s state broadcaster.
However, US politicians slammed the NBA’s response as “shameful” and accused the league of allowing China to use its economic power to crush free speech even beyond its own borders.
“As a lifelong Houston Rockets fan, I was proud to see Daryl Morey call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of protesters in Hong Kong,” Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter. “Now, in pursuit of $$, the NBA is shamefully retreating.”
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Other politicians accused the NBA, which has previously allowed players and coaches to speak out on domestic issues, of double standards when it came to China.
“The NBA, which (correctly) has no problem with players/employees criticizing our gov’t, is now apologising for criticising the Chinese gov’t. This is shameful and cannot stand,” congressman Tom Malinowski, a Democrat, wrote.
Main image credit: Getty