US politicians have called out NBA for “kowtowing” to China despite controversies involving an executive in Houston Rockets. The executive had tweeted, supporting the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Daryl Morey, the General Manager of Houston Rockets had tweeted, supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. However, he later deleted the post, tweeting a clarification that his aim was not to be rude to Chinese fans but to injure the beneficial relationship between it and the league. China, a country who has invested a large sum of money in sports broke ties. The partners withdrew their franchise and the Television outlets refused to broadcast the Rocket games.
According to Mike Bass, a spokesman of the NBA, the tweets made by Morey was lamentable and it hurt many of NBA’s Chinese fans. He also made a disclaimer, saying that Morey’s post was not the Rocket or the league’s opinion and that Morey was simply expressing his view, and he had every right to do that. He added that the league greatly respects Chinese history and culture and it is hoped that the NBA can, through sports, act as a unifying agent to bring people together and promote cultural differences.
NBA Chinese has also reacted, saying that Morey’s tweet was unfitting and that Chinese fans were hurt by it, warning Bass to make clear that the English statement was the authorized one.
James Harden, Rockets’ star player has also apologized declaring the team’s love for China. However, the co-founder of Alibaba, Chinese e-commerce and owner of Brooklyn Nets, Joseph Tsai has predicted that the harm from Morey’s tweet will take a long while to be repaired.
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner in Japan acknowledged that Morey’s statement had economic impacts. However, he had a right to express himself.
Sen. Marco Rubio showed indignation at NBA’s video porno response to the situation, saying that the league was turning its back on a colleague to kiss the boots of the Chinese Government. He felt disgusted that a citizen of the United States would be punished for exercising his right of speech for the sake of protecting the Association’s access in China.
According to Sen. Rick Scott, money was more important to the NBA than human rights. He said that the NBA was ‘kowtowing’ to Beijing. He further said that a meeting would be held to talk about the NBA’s relationship with China.