Written by Tariq
The NBA can’t have it both ways with business and freedom of expression, at least not with China. After the NBA Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey, posted that he was in favor of the protesters in Hong Kong on social media. Which angered the Chinese government.
The NBA’s Chinese partners suspended ties with the Rockets franchise, Chinese sponsors yanked their money away and Chinese television outlets said they would no longer air Rockets games. The Rockets are currently among only a few teams playing preseason games in China.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement, “Over the last three decades, the NBA has developed a great affinity for the people of China. We have seen how basketball can be an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties between the United States and China. At the same time, we recognize that our two countries have different political systems and beliefs. And like many global brands, we bring our business to places with different political systems around the world.”
Silver goes on to say, “The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.”
Did Morey have the right to say it? Yes, this is America. Was the timing wrong? Yes, business wise. Did Morey mess up the money? It may appear that way right now, time will tell.
I hope the NBA can learn from this and realize that when you go into someone else’s house (country), not all opinions need to be shared. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you meant it, it’s how someone receives it.