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Adam Silver reacts to controversy involving Rockets’ Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong tweet

Rockets, Adam Silver, Daryl Morey, China

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is defending Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s right to speak his mind about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

During his trip to Tokyo with the Rockets, Morey sent out a now-deleted tweet. In the caption, he wrote “Fight For Freedom” and “Stand With Hong Kong.” This tweet created quite a bit of online criticism, especially from Chinese citizens.

Silver spoke with Kyodo News in Tokyo ahead of Tuesday’s preseason game between the Rockets and Toronto Raptors in Saitama. He says there was an economic impact related to Morey’s tweet. Ultimately, though, Silver supports Morey’s ability to express his opinion:

“There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” Silver said via kyodonews.net. “There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have.”

“I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear…that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.”

After backing off from his original post, Morey sent out an apologetic message:

The NBA has enjoyed a growing presence in Asia for quite some time, with China being the league’s largest supporter in the region.

In the end, Silver says he and his constituents will handle this matter with a careful hand:

“I recognize that words truly do matter,” Silver said. “There is no doubt we have a large presence in China, we have a large presence in Hong Kong.

“As complex as I understood these issues were, as I talked to them I realize how emotional they are, and how careful the league needs to be.”

It’s certainly a situation worth monitoring moving forward.