The NBA has been earning a lot of flack in the wake of its response to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s support of the Hong Kong protesters. The NBA then denounced Morey’s remarks saying it didn’t represent the Rockets or the NBA and Morey was forced to apologize.
That infuriated people and was widely viewed as kowtowing to China because of the NBA’s business interests with the Chinese.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver then tried to clean it up, still equivocating, but it didn’t go well, particularly after further media incidents during the week.
Fans came out to the games with “Free Hong Kong” shirts and were ejected from games. Congress then blasted the NBA for their actions.
CNN sports reporter Christina Macfarlane dared to ask Rockets players James Harden and Russell Westbrook about the controversy during a media availability in Tokyo. She was then stopped by a team media person who wouldn’t let the players respond and they took the mic from Macfarlane. The NBA later apologized, saying that shouldn’t have happened.
The NBA also got bad attention after Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr insulted America while defending the Chinese, comparing the communists to the United States and saying we had people being mowed down by AR-15s in shopping malls, so “nobody’s perfect.”
Needless to say, neither media event played well.
So the NBA now has the solution. Are they going to cut loose bending over for the Chinese? No.
But they are going to stop having media availabilities while the teams are abroad in Asia for games, according to the Daily Wire.
On Friday, the NBA released a statement saying that allowing press to continue to ask questions put players in a “complicated” and “unfair” position.
“They [the teams] have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real time,” the statement said, according to CNN.
There is no availability for the final game with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets and there wasn’t any for the game on Thursday at the request of the Chinese government, according to CBC.
The NBA said however that this was in the interests of their players and not because the Chinese were influencing them, that the players were free to speak without retribution if they so chose.
Somehow one thinks that shutting down more media to make the Chinese happy doesn’t actually help you say that you’re not being controlled by them.