China denies it asked for Morey's firing over HK tweet

Henrietta Brewer
October 18, 2019

Shaung says the "Chinese government never posed this requirement", according to The Associated Press.

Silver said Thursday at a conference in NY that Chinese officials asked him initially to fire Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who got into hot water for tweeting "Fight for freedom".

On Oct. 4, Morey tweeted in support of the protests, but later deleted the tweet after backlash from Rockets' owner Tilman Fertitta and the Chinese government. The bill has since been scrapped, but the protests have persisted, leading to guerrilla-style battles with Hong Kong police, with protesters demanding that China not appoint members of the city legislature and amnesty for those charged with rioting.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Chinese officials wanted Morey to be fired for his tweet - something the league emphatically dismissed.

"We would like to give away some "The North Stand With Hong Kong" T-Shirts to the Raptors fans to show the world that we share the same values, and we stand with Hong Kong", the group stated in their Go Fund Me page.

"I don't know where we go from here". Morey has not been rebuked publicly by the league, and Silver has said that the league will support his freedom of expression.

South Park took what seemed to be a clear dig at LeBron James over the National Basketball Association star's response to the dispute revolving around the league, China, and Hong Kong. Of course, when the teams got back to the United States, James made comments that revealed he had a clear reason to not want to speak on China - he was unwilling to speak out on an issue that could cost him money.

The relative weakness of the NBA's response is a tacit admission of the financial stakes involved.

"I understand there's a point of view from some that we shouldn't be in business at all in China and I'd say from an intellectual standpoint that's fair, not getting into the tweet or the response to it", Silver said.

One of the series' characters quoted word-for-word LeBron James' comments that there may be "ramifications" for exercising one's freedom of speech.

"Maybe I was trying too hard to be a diplomat", Silver continued. That led many in America, including prominent politicians on both sides of the aisle, to accuse Silver and the league of bowing to the interests of a foreign government. So many people could have been harmed, not only physically or financially, but emotionally and spiritually.

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