Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey's tweet about Hong Kong sparks controversy

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet about the Hong Kong protests led to a response from the team's owner on Friday

Houston Rockets Address Controversial Tweet From Team’s GM

John Gonzalez of The Ringer reported that team ownership have debated replacing Morey as general manager, but that report was soon refuted by Sam Amick of The Athletic and Marc Stein of The New York Times, who tweeted there are no plans for the Rockets to discipline Morey.

"I did not intend my tweet to cause any offence to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China", Mr Morey tweeted from Japan, where Houston are playing this week. "Stand With Hong Kong", according to screen shots of the deleted tweet shared on social media.

Head coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters in Tokyo that he "doesn't feel comfortable" commenting on Morey's tweet, which featured an image with the message "Fight for Freedom".

Since early in the year, Hong Kong has seen a string of massive demonstrations sparked by concerns about a proposed extradition law that would allow the transfer of suspects accused of a crime to jurisdictions with which the city lacks an extradition deal, including mainland China. Disgusting. They allow #China to punish a US citizen for free speech in order to protect NBA's market access in China.

"Listen, Daryl Morey does NOT speak for the Houston Rockets", he wrote on Twitter.

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Chinese Basketball Association officials announced they are suspending cooperation with the Rockets, which had become one of the most popular teams in the nation following superstar Yao Ming's Hall of Fame career in Houston as the game expanded its global footprint.

Reaction in China was swift and severe, with the Chinese Basketball Association, Tencent Sports, which streams NBA games in that country, and the Rockets' Chinese sponsors cutting ties with the team. Castro called on the U.S.to take the lead and show more support for the protestors in Hong Kong. "In response, the National Basketball Association issued a statement saying money is the most important thing", Sasse said in a statement Monday morning. We appreciate them as a fan base.

Freedom of expression does not extend to issues China deems untouchable, the Taiwanese-Canadian owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets said Monday (Oct 7) as he weighed in on the Houston Rockets pro-democracy tweet crisis.

In the Chinese version of the statement, it added a further comment: "We are deeply disappointed about Morey's inappropriate comment and he undoubtedly has hurt Chinese fans' feelings severely". In a follow-up statement to ESPN, Fertitta clarified that he was merely intending to quell the "huge backlash" with his Twitter post and that "everything is fine with Daryl and me".

Joseph Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, said the damage from Morey's tweet "will take a long time to fix".

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Just last week, the Shanghai Sharks - once owned by Yao - visited Houston to play the Rockets in a preseason game. Hong Kong has been roiled with pro-democracy protests for several months now. In their official statement, the American professional basketball organization noted that the tweet has "offended. our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable".

As the situation in Hong Kong intensifies, businesses have been increasingly caught in the crosshairs.

The post was later deleted and 47-year-old Morey, the NBA's executive of the year in 2018, said his views did not represent the team or league.

There was also a statement from Nets owner Joe Tsai, the league's first Chinese owner and a key figure in trying to defuse the controversy. It has unraveled, however, into an worldwide incident that has caused outrage on two continents and left the NBA-ever-conscious of its image as an agent for social justice-groveling for forgiveness from angry Chinese fans and officials.

Harden added: "We appreciate them as a fan base".

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