Fox News' Ed Henry said Friday that NBA stars are disappointing fans because they’re not standing up for freedom in the wake of the recent controversy over Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting protesters in Hong Kong.
“It infuriates me. I love the NBA. ... These NBA stars are disappointing me and a lot of people because they're not standing up for freedom! They're not standing up even for America, in some cases,” the senior national correspondent told “Fox & Friends."
Henry responded to a clip showing a Houston Rockets media relations official shutting down a reporter’s question to stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook on Thursday amid the continuing controversy surrounding the NBA and China.
A video posted on Twitter by The Athletic’s Rockets insider, Alykhan Bijani, showed CNN’s Christina Macfarlane asking a question about whether Harden and Westbrook “would feel differently about speaking out” about geopolitical issues in the future due to the fallout from this week, which saw stars and coaches appear uncomfortable answering China-specific questions. The discomfort earned them a public rebuke from President Trump.
But instead of allowing the two to answer the general question, the spokesperson chimed in almost immediately and told Macfarlane the questions were only going to be about basketball topics. When the spokesperson said the question had already been answered this week, Macfarlane shot back and said it was a “legitimate question.”
The league later said the employee made a mistake by not allowing the reporter's question.
The NBA-China controversy originated in a single tweet sent by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Henry said many NBA players have touted their freedom of speech rights when it comes to criticizing President Trump, but are not doing the same with regard to China.
“But then be consistent and stand up to communist China and they’re not doing it because the NBA makes big money in China,” said the host of Fox Nation's sports-themed "Front Row Seat."
Fox News' Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.