DHARAMSALA, 18 Oct: NBA has rejected China’s call to fire Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for his tweet in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made it public att TIME 100 Health Summit in New York City on Thursday that the Chinese government and the parties it deals in China has asked the league to fire Daryl Morey.
“We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him,” the Times quoted Silver as saying in its report at TIME 100 Health Summit in New York City on Thursday.
While the revelation has made it explicitly clear that the Chinese authorities wanted NBA to sack Morey, the league boss has reportedly stopped short of disclosing how the requests were made. Chinese netizens and media alike have made the same demand.
The NBA Boss has further stated in the report that while other companies have apologized to the Chinese government for various actions, the NBA did not give in to China’s demands.
The NBA started facing backlash following Houston Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protest movement.
In a since-deleted tweet, Morey posted a picture with a caption, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” on 12 Oct.
Later, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta sought to distance the team from Morey’s tweet, saying he did not speak for the Rockets
Though the NBA’s statement, in the beginning, used the word ‘regrettable,’ Silver has clarified that the league did use the word but added that regrettable was modifying the fact that we have upset our Chinese fans- not the content of Morey’s tweet itself.
Following its initial statement, the league has gone on the offensive and Silver has said that NBA supports free speech which has further angered China’s net users.
On the economic impact following Morey’s tweet, Silver has said in the report that “the league is not only willing” to cope with losses of millions in revenues, but we are. The losses have already been substantial. Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we’ll see what happens next.”
China is the NBA’s major growth market and its broadcast deal with Tencent alone is worth a reported US$1.5 billion (about A$2.2 billion) a year.