Sixers fan booted from National Basketball Association game for supporting Hong Kong

The Chinese Basketball Association — headed by Yao — has severed relations with the Rockets who played centre for the team for eight years. — Reuters pic

The Shanghai Sports Federation (上海市體育總會) announced on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 9) the cancelation of an NBA event for fans scheduled for that night, citing the "improper remarks" by Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey and the "improper claim" by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as reasons for doing so, reported CNA.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet on October 4, which was quickly deleted, backing the ongoing protests in Hong Kong against Beijing's growing encroachment.

Gregg Popovich, the NBA's longest-tenured coach, lauded NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday for his stance supporting freedom of speech amid the ongoing rift with China.

After the National Basketball Association had confirmed Wednesday morning that the fans' event in Shanghai would proceed according to plan, the Shanghai Sports Federation abruptly canceled the event that afternoon. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time. "He has, without a doubt, seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese sports fans". "Stand with Hong Kong" tweet. Every fall, the league sends teams to China for exhibition games.

"The Chinese Basketball Association and the Chinese cooperation partners to the Houston Rockets made statements on this matter". Chinese companies began abandoning the Rockets and TV networks said they would not show Rockets games in China.

And I have to tell you, if you look at the market, 1.4 billion Chinese potential customers means that game six of the NBA Finals past year was actually better watched in China than in the United States. Then there was the statement from CCTV, the Chinese broadcaster: "We voice our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Adam Silver offering as an excuse the right to freedom of expression".

"I'm just trying to learn just like everybody else", Kerr added. I'm thrilled with what he said.

Meanwhile the Global Times, a nationalist paper known for communicating the ruling Communist Party's attitudes to the world, issued a blunt warning to global firms that speaking out on human rights and other sensitive issues would cost them market access.

While Morey later deleted the post, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta had already seen the tweet and responded to the backlash, with a note distancing the franchise from the post.

China is quick to punish businesses that cross it: Airlines and hotels have been condemned for having websites that identify Hong Kong or Taiwan as separate from China.

The protests were sparked by opposition to a law allowing extradition to mainland China, but have since evolved into broader calls for democracy. Activists saw that as a threat to the legal rights that Hong Kong residents have under the current "one country, two systems" framework.

Having cultivated its presence in China for nearly two decades, the NBA's response to the debacle was necessarily swift and scrambled.

"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", Silver said in a statement on Tuesday.

Silver also responded to those criticizing the league's approach over the past several days, including some USA lawmakers who have called for the league to take action - some even suggesting the league should cancel its games in China.

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