Chinese government cancels Nets event, won't broadcast NBA preseason games after tweet fallout: report
The Chinese government canceled a Brooklyn Nets event on Tuesday and the Chinese state broadcaster reported that the country will no longer air preseason games played in China in wake of recent controversy over Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting protesters in the Hong Kong riots, according to reports.
Hours before Nets players were set to participate in an NBA Cares event in Shanghai, Chinese officials pulled the plug.
The move comes after Morey’s quickly deleted tweet that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” caused outrage in China and led to sportswear brand L-Ning and another sponsor to cut ties with the Rockets.
CCTV also said Tuesday in a statement posted to the official social media account of its sports channel that it is reviewing all its cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA.
The statement indicated the decision followed remarks made by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in Tokyo. Silver said in an interview with Kyodo News that the NBA supports Morey
The Nets event, a dedication ceremony for the new NBA Cares Learn and Play Center in Shanghai, was shut down by the Education Bureau without explanation, the New York Post reports.
It’s not yet clear if another event in China, an NBA Cares with the Los Angeles Lakers, will also be impacted by the Chinese government’s apparent conflict with the American basketball organization.
CHINESE SUSPEND WORK WITH HOUSTON ROCKETS AFTER GM'S HONG KONG TWEET
After deleting his controversial tweet, Morey later tweeted, “I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.”
He added: “I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.”
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The Houston Rockets have a strong following in China thanks to the most famous Chinese basketball player of all time, Yao Ming, who the team drafted in 2002. Chinese fans followed his entire Hall of Fame career with the Rockets, making it a sensitive issue for both parties.
Protests in Hong Kong have made worldwide news over the past couple of months thanks to increased violence between the government and those fighting for increased rights and freedom. China appears extremely sensitive to outside parties encouraging the demonstrators, especially within a group they have strong ties to.
Fox News' David Aaro and Mike Arroyo contributed to this report.