National Basketball Association chief Adam Silver says profit can’t come before the league’s principles

The Houston Rockets went to Asia for exhibition games but were plunged into a political firestorm following their general manager's tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

The Houston Rockets went to Asia for exhibition games but were plunged into a political firestorm following their general manager's tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey recently tweeted out a thought supporting Hong Kong, and its pro-democracy movement, in its fight with China, things got more than a bit insane - over there and here, too.

[Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner]: "Essentially what I've said in that statement is that the long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community".

Changhong Electric, a major home appliance group listed as a partner on NBA China's website, said Monday that it felt "strong indignation to Morey's indifferent attitude and refusal to apologize", while Chinese sportswear giant Anta declared that it "firmly opposes and resists all acts that harm the interests of the motherland".

The NBA has been rather progressive when it comes to allowing players, coaches and general managers to practice free speech on social media and elsewhere. "It's one of those things that if done properly, could go a long way to helping calm the waters", sports industry consultant Marc Ganis, whose firm, Sportscorp, orchestrated Chinese sponsorship and rights distribution deals with the Houston Rockets, told FOX Business. "If it doesn't get done soon though, this may continue to spiral".

They have thrown fits over advertising that used quotes from the Dalai Lama, who has been forced to live in exile for decades, so it should come as no surprise that they view the GM of an National Basketball Association team tweeting about Hong Kong to be a problem. Several Chinese business have also suspended ties with the team. China has never look fondly on outsiders commenting on their own political strifes, which is why Morey finds himself in a hard position after doing something he's always been known to do - express his opinion.

Several Chinese businesses made a decision to suspend ties with the Rockets following Morey's remarks. I'm thrilled with what he said. "A little after the signs were taken away, I stood in my seat and chanted "Free Hong Kong" until security escorted us out". Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that Morey doesn't speak for the team and the Rockets aren't a political organization, but he also said he supported Morey.

But Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the money isn't worth compromising American values.

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John Ross, senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, joined Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary Tuesday to discuss the repercussions of Morey and Silver's statements and the dynamics that the West does not appear to understand about China. "Adam is saying that Morey has the right to express himself", Ganis said.

"I don't think he (Silver) is mixing up sports and politics. That's where the big problem is coming in".

Yet there were signs that the league would try to ride out the controversy.

The fallout from Morey's tweet has been grabbing headlines for days. He reportedly agreed to a five-year contract extension last March. Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have not issued statements on the matter, and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The hurt that this incident has caused will take a long time to fix", Tsai said in an open letter to fans in which he tried to shed light on the Chinese perspective when it comes to Hong Kong.

"It's actually becoming that".

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