The NBA is thrust into a political quagmire after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters: '“Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” The tweet has since been deleted.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is dancing a line between protecting Morey’s free speech and staving off China’s backlash. Critics say the league is driven by profit instead of principle. He has tried to clarify his position:
“It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences. However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.”
At this point, The Wall Street Journal reports better news:
“The situation appears to have de-escalated. After a week of blistering anti-NBA rhetoric in Chinese media, the government is signaling that it’s time to cool it, a message that includes the vitriol directed at the Rockets, according to one person familiar with the situation.”
But the Journal also acknowledges: “China’s love affair with the Rockets might not be the same again.”
Should Morey have avoided sending the tweet? Why or why not?
How do you assess the league’s response to the situation?
Analyze Silver’s news conference. What did he do well, and what could he have done differently?