October 9, 2019
Commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Adam Silver literally is putting the league’s money where its mouth is. During a press conference prior to the preseason game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors at Saitama Super Arena on October 8 in Saitama, Japan. Silver sought to quell the boiling emotions sparked by Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests, the Houston Chronicle reported..
“The long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community. And in this case Daryl Morey, as the general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees,” Silver said in a press conference before the Rockets faced the o Raptors.
“I understand that there are consequences from that exercise of, in essence, his freedom of speech. We will have to live with those consequences. That’s where we find ourselves, but that as a league, we are not willing to compromise those values. Again, I’m sympathetic to our interests here and to our partners who are upset. I don’t think it’s inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles.”
The consequences of Morey’s quickly-deleted tweet continued to mount on Tuesday when CCTV announced that in response to Silver’s support of freedom of speech it would not televise this week’s NBA preseason games in Shanghai and Shenzhen between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.
“We’re strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right to freedom of expression,” CCTV said in a statement translated by the Associated Press. “We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.”
The network added that it will “immediately investigate all cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA,” the Chronicle reported.
Silver said he intends to go to Shanghai on Wednesday and hopes to meet with officials and business partners there to try to repair the damage in the NBA’s relationship with China. He did not expect a quick resolution, according to the Houston-based news outlet.
“It’s my hope that when I’m in Shanghai, I can meet with the appropriate officials and discuss where we stand, and again, put those remarks from Daryl Morey and my remarks in an appropriate context of a many-decades-long relationship and see if we can find mutual respect for each other’s political systems and beliefs,” Silver said. “But I’m a realist as well, and I recognize that this issue may not die down so quickly.”
If that were not already clear, He added that Rockets icon Yao Ming, the head of the China Basketball Association, is “extremely upset.”
Research contact: @HoustonChron