On Friday, Rocket’s GM Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong democracy protesters with the graphic that read "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong". The Rockets are in Asia for a pre-season game this week against the Raptors.
The league put out a statement blasting Morey for the tweet, writing:
“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. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. 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’s tweet also drew rebuke from the Chinese Basketball Association, which is headed by former Rockets center Yao Ming.The Chinese Basketball Association said it would suspend cooperation with the Rockets and said Sunday via its official social media that it 'strongly disagrees' with Morey's 'improper remarks' regarding Hong Kong.’
Several of the Rocket’s sponsors and partners in China, including the state broadcaster China Central Television and the livestreaming platform Tencent Sports, announced on Sunday that they would no longer broadcast Rockets games. Tencent Holdings represents the NBA's largest digital partner outside the US and struck a deal to stream games and other league programming in China reported to be worth $1.5 billion.
Morey has since deleted the tweet.
The Houston Chinese Consulate said in a statement that it was "deeply shocked" by what it described as Morey's "erroneous comments on Hong Kong."
Of course, Morey apologized.
However politician on both sides of the aisle including Senator Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang are backing Morey and expressing their disappointment with the NBA for caving to the Chi-Comms.