NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came out in defense of Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey and said the league has already lost a “dramatic” amount of money in the backlash to Morey’s pro-Hong Kong protests tweet.
Silver said that he came under pressure from the Chinese government after the tweet but vowed not to punish Morey over the post.
“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, according to The Washington Post. “We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”
Silver denies apologizing to the Chinese:
The NBA’s first statement on Morey’s tweet said, “We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.”
On Thursday, SIlver said that the word “regrettable” was “modifying the fact that we’d upset our Chinese fans.” He added that “there was no regret directed to the [Chinese] government."
The initial statement was followed by a statement from Silver saying 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.”
“I want this to be clear, and I think there’s been some confusion around this: We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression,” Silver clarified last week.
Silver says financial consequences have been ‘dramatic’:
Silver said that the financial “losses have already been substantial” since the backlash began.
“Our games are not back on the air in China, as we speak, and we’ll see what happens next,” he said. “I felt we had made enormous progress in terms of building cultural exchanges with the Chinese people, and, again, I have regret that much of that was lost.”
“The financial consequences,” he added, “have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic."