stick to sports?
October 8, 2019

The NBA wasn't quite sure what to do with itself after Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets' general manager, sent a now-deleted tweet in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy, anti-Beijing protest movement. And it appears that ESPN is looking to avoid a similar fate.

Deadspin obtained a memo from Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, which discouraged the network's staff from mentioning the politics surrounding the protest movement, meaning that any discussion about the Morey situation would have to be relegated to talk about how it affects the basketball landscape. Multiple ESPN sources reportedly confirmed to Deadspin that the network's executives were keeping watch over how on-air personalities were discussing the topic.

Deadspin notes that, throughout the day Monday, Morey's tweet was discussed frequently, but in a tangential manner. For example, Mike Golic Jr. and Trey Wingo debated how the story would have differed if a star player sent the tweet instead of a general manager, and Frank Isola and Israel Gutierrez wondered whether the NBA would be successful in repairing its relationship with Beijing. Stephen A. Smith, meanwhile, brutally chastised Morey, calling him selfish for sending the tweet without thinking about how it would affect the Rockets, the NBA, or former Rockets star and current Chinese Basketball Association Chair Yao Ming, whom Smith seems to think may have been making process toward bridging the gap between the U.S. and China.

No one, though — save for perhaps Around the Horn panelist Kevin Blackistone, per Deadspin — made much of an attempt to offer any details about what's actually happening on the ground in Hong Kong. Stick to sports, indeed. Read more at Deadspin. Tim O'Donnell

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