China refuting Adam Silver’s claim that they requested Daryl Morey to be fired
In the wake of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s interview at the TIME 100 Health Summit, China is refuting his claim that it demanded the firing of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey over a tweet that supported anti-government protests in Hong Kong, according to The Associated Press.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the “Chinese government never posed this requirement.”
Silver said he was “being asked to fire [Morey] by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business,” and that he responded to the Chinese government by saying there is no way the NBA would do so, or even discipline Morey for exercising his right to free speech.
After being initially apologetic to the Chinese fans who might have been insulted by Morey’s tweet, Silver course-corrected his stance and stayed firmly behind Morey and his rights as an American citizen, as well as an employee of an NBA organization.
Several Chinese companies, including the Chinese Basketball Association and state broadcaster CCTV, immediately suspended broadcasting of NBA games after Morey’s tweet, while several other partner companies soon pulled sponsorships away from the two upcoming games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. Both teams played without any media availability and without sponsors on the court or ads in the streets, making it a very strange visit to China for the annual NBA China Games.