China has suspended the broadcast of NBA preseason games as the league scrambles to deal with the aftermath of one tweet about Hong Kong.
Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets' general manager, tweeted his support Friday for the pro-democracy, anti-Beijing Hong Kong protests, a tweet he quickly deleted as it sparked outrage from China. The NBA subsequently distanced itself from Morey's tweet, which in turn sparked outrage in the United States among those who said the NBA was kowtowing to China to maintain its business interests there.
Now, the fallout from the tweet continues with CCTV, China's state broadcaster, announcing Tuesday it will "immediately halt" the broadcast of NBA preseason games, with this coming ahead of a Shanghai game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets scheduled for Thursday, CNN reports. Tencent also won't live stream the games.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in an interview Monday insisted the league is supporting Morey's freedom of expression, also saying at a news conference Tuesday, "I understand there are consequences from his freedom of speech and we will have to live with those consequences," The Associated Press reports. Silver additionally said in a Tuesday statement that it's "not the role of the NBA to adjudicate" the "differences" between people around the world.
But China has taken issue with these latest responses from Silver, with CCTV expressing Tuesday its "strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Silver's stated support of Morey's right to free speech," also promising to "immediately examine all other cooperation and exchanges with the NBA."