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21 Oct 2019

NBA Commissioner defends free speech amidst controversies over tweet supporting Hong Kong protests

In October 2019, Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, expressed his support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Twitter. After Morey’s tweet was published, NBA said as an initial response in a statement that it recognized that Morey’s views "have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable." However, Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, said that “Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression”.

The backlash over Morey’s tweet continued to grow. China’s CCTV had halted the broadcasts of NBA’s preseason matches in China. Tencent, NBA’s exclusive digital partner in China, said it would suspend live streaming for two NBA preseason games in China. Corporate partners in China have also suspended relations with the league.