N.B.A. Commissioner: China Asked Us to Fire Daryl Morey

“I felt we had made enormous progress in terms of building cultural exchanges with the Chinese people, and I have regret that much of that was lost,” Silver said. “And I’m not even sure where we’ll go from here.”

The backlash to Morey’s post was swift: Several Chinese companies denounced him and cut ties with the Rockets, one of the most popular teams in China. Morey’s own boss, the owner of the Rockets, publicly rebuked him.

But the anger didn’t just come from China. The league also came under fire at home for its initial written response that said it was “regrettable” that Morey’s tweet “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.” American politicians across the spectrum and many stateside fans accused the N.B.A. of bowing to China’s government to preserve profits.

Silver expressed mild frustration with that characterization, saying he was confused by the reaction and felt he was misinterpreted. “I had thought we had taken a principled position,” he said. “I thought we hadn’t so-called acquiesced to the Chinese.”

Even so, Silver two days later stood up more forcefully for Morey and his free speech rights — much to the ire of the Chinese government. The state-run television network, China Central Television, canceled its broadcasts of the games between the Lakers and the Nets and several other related events and promotions.

“We wanted to make an absolutely clear statement that the values of the N.B.A., these American values — we are an American business — travel with us wherever we go,” Silver said. “And one of those values is free expression.”

Source link Nytimes.com

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