Capital One Arena confiscates 'Free Hong Kong' sign at Washington Wizards game

Yolanda Curtis
October 10, 2019

"Silver's about-face, which will definitely give a shot to the arms of the rioters in Hong Kong, shows his organization is willing to be another handy tool for USA interference in (Hong Kong)", the state-run China Daily newspaper said in an editorial.

The NBA had faced backlash this past week for its response to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting free speech and pro-democratic efforts in Hong Kong.

Commissioner Adam Silver is heading to Shanghai on Wednesday in an effort to ease tensions between the two entities.

A pair of fans holding "Free Hong Kong" signs were booted from a Philadelphia 76ers game against Chinese squad Guangzhou Loong Lions Tuesday night, according to new reports.

Our "Google Uyghurs" sign has been confiscated. Capital One Arena has a policy stating signs "may not be commercial or political in nature".

The National Basketball Association continues to abase and disgrace itself (this was better, but still not almost sufficient), making clear that maintaining its lucrative gravy train to the huge Chinese market is more important than standing up for American values such as freedom of speech, small-'L' liberal institutions, and democracy.

With the arena lights still dark and images of the Chinese flag aglow on the overhead scoreboard, a single protester in section 217 held a handwritten sign and shouted for freedom of speech and freedom for Hong Kong.

"I hope the USA will stand with Hong Kong and fight for freedom, and not give up Hong Kong for money", he added.

"A pair of pro-Tibet protesters stood near the front seats of section 103, off to the left of the Wizards" bench. He then left his seat after he was approached by security. The guard followed the men up the stairs as several Wizards players and staffers turned to watch the scene. But the idea that a fan would be ejected from a game for showing their support for freedom is deeply troubling. I was focused on the game. "I know, earth-shattering right?" I did hear the first part.

The timing was particularly bad as the National Basketball Association is gearing up for exhibition games in China between the Brooklyn Nets and LeBron's Los Angeles Lakers this week.

The NBA, however, released an apologetic statement, stressing that Morey's views do "not represent the Rockets or the NBA".

The league probably wishes the issue would just go away. "We simply could not operate that way".

It cited Morey's "inappropriate statement" and Silver's "inappropriate position" for the cancellation.

"It is inevitable that people around the world - including from America and China - will have different viewpoints over different issues", NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

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