DimWit Politics

NBA Kowtows To China Over Hong Kong

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NBA Kowtows To China Over Hong Kong

NBA Kowtows To China Over Hong Kong
October 11
16:39 2019

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has kowtowed to the Communist Chinese government which is currently battling hoards of mostly-peaceful political protestors in the central streets of the island nation of Hong Kong which rules itself, to a great extent, under Chinese ownership.

On Friday, October 4, 2019, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted approval of the Hong Kong mass protestors who are angry about a new bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited to mainland China.

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“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” Morey exhorted in a tweet now deleted that referred to the pro-democracy demonstrators.

The Hong Kong resistance has been going on for months against mainland China. On Sunday, June 9, 2019, more than 1 million protestors in Hong Kong clogged busy streets, erected make-shift barricades from traffic cones, and set up supply depots with bottled water, limited first aid and emergency services for the mob.

The demonstrations today are second in size, sound, and thunder only to the 1997 protests when Great Britain ceded control of Hong Kong back to mainland China.

Morey’s social media proclamation favoring freedom over totalitarianism has stirred up a firestorm of international tension and landed the man, his team, and his league in quite a pickle:

“The tweet has left the league and the Rockets with untenable choices. They can fire Morey and apologize, which would be seen in America as putting profits ahead of free expression and caving to anti-democratic forces in China. Or they could stand behind him and risk losing the sport’s largest growth market.”

Two days before that ill-fated online show of one American’s support, thousands of people flooded the central streets of Hong Kong, enraged by the police shooting of a teenage student who had to be hospitalized and is in stable but critical condition:

“Many at the demonstrations held their hands over the left side of their chests in tribute to 18-year-old Tsang Chi-kin, who was shot at point-blank range on Tuesday, with the bullet narrowly missing his heart.”

After Morey’s tweet, incensed Chinese social media users targeted his account and vented their anger, demanding his immediate termination.

Chinese officials and corporations (under government control) are making good on their threats to stop doing business with the NBA unless Morley reverses his opinion and publicly sides with the Communists.

On October 6, user Yu Fu tweeted the play-by-play as it unfolded:

“Chinese Basketball Association announced that they will cut off all cooperation with Houston Rockets. Rockets former superstar Yao Ming is the president of CBA.”

He also noted:

“SPDB, a Rockets sponsor from China, announced that they will stop all marketing and promotion activities related to Rockets,” and “All Rockets sponsors from China are out. CCTV are calling out Morey and Rockets. Rockets is banned in China before further action is taken.”

The Rockets are the most popular NBA team in China, thanks to Yao Ming, the U.S. team’s 7-foot 5-inch tall center, now retired. Yao was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft.

At first, on October 4, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that Morey didn’t speak for the Rockets. Later, Fertitta reversed his position, saying he felt compelled to respond to Morey’s controversial tweet in an interview with ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon:

“I have the best general manager in the league. Everything is fine with Daryl and me. We got a huge backlash, and I wanted to make clear that [the organization] has no [political] position. We’re here to play basketball and not to offend anybody.”

On October 6, the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas, said in a statement that it was “deeply shocked” by what it described as Morey’s “erroneous comments on Hong Kong,” and added:

“We have lodged representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Houston Rockets, and urged the latter to correct the error and take immediate concrete measures to eliminate the adverse impact.”

The same day, China Central Television (CCTV) announced on October 8 that it had “decided to immediately halt” broadcast or stream NBA preseason games held in their country. The Chinese TV network expressed “strong dissatisfaction” after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended Morey’s tweet.

The NBA created even more bipartisan political controversy after issuing this statement:

“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”

Morey issued an explanatory statement:

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.”

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) tweeted his conclusion about the NBA’s priorities and ethics:

It’s clear that the NBA is more interested in money than human rights. Tonight’s statement from Commissioner Silver is an absolute joke.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) added his approval for the general manager of his home state’s team while condemning the NBA:

“As a lifelong HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see [Morey] call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of protesters in Hong Kong. Now, in pursuit of big $$, the [NBA] is shamefully retreating.”

Will the rulers of the distant Communist China, famous for its trampling of human rights, accept Morey’s explanation or demand that he recant his democratic principles and root for the opposition?

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