The general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, deleted a Friday tweet in support of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong after the team's Chinese sponsor and a Chinese sportswear maker suspended work with the team.
After Morey deleted his tweet, which read "Fight For Freedom Stand With Hong Kong," he issued the following statement:
"I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation on a complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives," adding "I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention."
Chinese Communist Party now extracting apologetic confessionals from Americans pic.twitter.com/bbYXgr8bGu— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) October 7, 2019
Over teh weekend, Rockets star James Harden offered an apology, saying "We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there," adding "For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love."
The NBA also chimed in on Monday, declining to support Morey's freedom of expression - saying in a statement that they "recognize that the views expressed by the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable."
NEW: the NBA has released a statement on Daryl Morey: pic.twitter.com/FOI79W31b1— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 7, 2019
The sudden reversal and knee bending caught the attention of several politicians, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who tweeted "in pursuit of big $$, the @nba is shamefully retreating."
As a lifelong @HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of protestors in Hong Kong.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 7, 2019
Now, in pursuit of big $$, the @nba is shamefully retreating. https://t.co/7waMde5KrM
.@NBA is throwing the GM of @HoustonRockets under the bus to please the Communist Chinese Govt.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
They allow #China to punish a U.S. citizen for free speech in order to protect NBA’s market access in China.
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke even chimed in, tweeting "The only thing the NBA should be apologizing for is their blatant prioritization of profits over human rights. What an embarrassment."
South Park this week also feels a bit prescient in highlighting the NBA’s long-time ties in China and the uncomfortable strings that come with them. pic.twitter.com/KCDXZFbvd0— Paul Mozur 孟建国 (@paulmozur) October 6, 2019
New NBA rule: No kneeling during the Chinese national anthem— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) October 7, 2019