Silver: China Asked for Rockets GM to Be Fired

'There's no chance we'll even discipline him'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 18, 2019 12:43 AM CDT
Silver: China Asked for Rockets GM to Be Fired
A demonstrator holds a US flag during a rally at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says Chinese officials wanted Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to be fired for his tweet supporting anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, and the league emphatically dismissed the request. Silver also says the league is already feeling "substantial" financial losses because of the Chinese reaction to Morey's deleted tweet, the AP reports. "Obviously, we made clear that we were being asked to fire him by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business," Silver said Thursday during an appearance at the Time 100 Health Summit in New York. "We said, 'There's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him.'"

Silver also said he isn't sure what will happen to the NBA's relationship with China, which has been growing steadily over the last three decades. "I felt we had made enormous progress in terms of building cultural exchanges with the Chinese people," Silver said. "Again, I have regret that much of that was lost. " The league and LeBron James, one of its biggest stars, have been heavily criticized by some US lawmakers for the perception that they caved to the Chinese regime. Morey has not been rebuked publicly by the league, and Silver said that the league will support his freedom of expression. "The values of the NBA, these American values—we are an American business—travel with us wherever we go, and one of those values is free expression," Silver said. (South Park weighed in on the LeBron controversy this week.)

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