NBA players don't seem very happy with the league, commissioner Adam Silver, or Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey right now.
Silver held a meeting last week in Shanghai with players from the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, who were there for an exhibition game, ESPN reports. The players reportedly vented about being asked by local Chinese reporters to address the controversial situation that arose following a now-deleted tweet sent by Morey that offered support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy, anti-Beijing protests before Silver himself spoke on the matter. China, which is home to a massive NBA fan base, was angered by Morey's tweet, placing the NBA's relationship with the country in jeopardy.
It's become a pretty big deal stateside, as well, with numerous coaches and players getting thrown into hot water over their attempts to answer questions about the fiasco, which have frequently received criticism from across the political spectrum.
While the players seemed unhappy with Silver and the media, they also reportedly questioned whether Morey will be disciplined. It's unclear if the players think Morey — whom the NBA has sort of, but not really defended — should face consequences, but ESPN reports that they at least felt it was hypocritical of Silver to let him off the hook; several players reportedly said they believe they would have been disciplined if they were in Morey's shoes. Read more at ESPN. Tim O'Donnell
Wachs said he and his wife were kicked out of a preseason NBA game in Philadelphia between the hometown 76ers and the Guangzhou Loong-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association on Tuesday night because they were holding signs that read "Free Hong Kong" and "Free HK." Wachs said the signs were initially confiscated by security, but when they resorted to chanting "Free Hong Kong," they got the boot.
The ejection comes after Morey, the Houston Rockets' general manager, tweeted and deleted a post supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy, anti-Beijing protest movement. China was rattled by the tweet and several businesses, including the Chinese Basketball Association, ended their relationship with the Rockets. Beijing suspended the broadcast of NBA preseason games, and the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA cares event in Shanghai scheduled for Wednesday was canceled. NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended Morey's right to free speech, but the league largely seems to be cowering from the situation. The NBA apologized to China's fan base, which is a huge driver of a revenue for the league. Do the math, as they say.
It's unclear if security was directed to throw Wachs and his wife out of the arena by the Sixers (who did not comment on the matter) or the league. Either way, the ejection seems to have a struck a nerve. Tim O'Donnell
The NBA is kicking paying fans out of games for having signs supportive of the Hong Kong protests. It’s not just that they are prioritizing access to Chinese markets over speaking up, but they are also actively assisting the regime’s attempts to censor Americans. https://t.co/5KmtZHa7p0
Update: The 76ers said in a statement that the fans were thrown out of the arena for disruption, including "verbal confrontations" with others in attendance, not because of the signs. A source told ESPN that the team was not aware of the incident until after the ejection.