Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey had caused uproar in China when he expressed his opinion on Hong Kong’s protests on proposals to allow extradition to mainland China. Morey had tweeted an image last Friday that read, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”
This tweet caused massive uproar in China as there has been numerous businesses that cut ties with the NBA. The Chinese Basketball Association retorted with strong sentiments regarding Morey’s tweet labeling it as “improper remarks regarding Hong Kong.”
Former Rockets star Yao Ming announced on Sunday he would cut all ties with the team. Broadcaster CCTV, web giant Tencent and smartphone making Vivo announced today that they will be suspending all operations with the National Basketball Association.
Sponsors distanced themselves for the Rockets. Pudong Development Bank and Sports Apparel company Li-Ning announced suspension of their operations with the team. The NBA announced that it understands that Morey’s views “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,” NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said in a statement posted on the Chinese social media website Weibo.
“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.”
Morey tweeted back, regarding his original tweet that caused uproar, “I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” he said. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.”