Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” tweet has sparked controversy between the NBA and China, and it doesn’t appear that the issues will be going away any time soon.
In the wake of Morey’s since-deleted tweet, nearly all of the NBA’s Chinese partners cut ties with the league, and the NBA Cares events in Shanghai have been cancelled. The Lakers vs Nets preseason game took place in Shanghai as planned today, but players, coaches and owners will continued to be questioned about how they will approach societal issues moving forward.
On Thursday, Houston Rockets All Stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook were asked if they still feel free to speak out on political and social issues. However, a Rockets PR rep prevented Harden and Westbrook from answering, and informed the journalist that the players would not be responding to any such questions.
Check out the footage below.
Morey’s “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” tweet was in reference to the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and the league has received backlash for prioritizing profits over human rights.
Harden offered an apology earlier this week, but it’s clear that he and other players around the league will continued to be questioned.
“We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there,” Harden told ESPN. “For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love. We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization.”