This Daryl Morey thing went downhill quickly, didn’t it?
Long story short, Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, recently tweeted in support of the pro-Democracy Hong Kong movement, which set off a geopolitical firestorm of epic proportions. Houston owner Tilman Fertitta tweeted his disapproval of Morey’s take, James Harden apologized on behalf of the organization, and Brooklyn’s Taiwanese-Canadian owner Joe Tsai stepped in to try to explain China’s side of the dispute.
A number of Chinese partners suspended ties with the NBA in the ensuing fallout, leading commissioner Adam Silver to issue a revised statement:
It’s a well-worded statement. I’m not sure they could have done a better job with it.
Of course the problem stems from this line:
“…the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say….”
I think everyone would agree that the NBA is the most progressive American sports league out there. That manifests itself in frequent political and social talk, such as Steve Kerr being openly asked those types of non-basketball questions and openly responding. He and others have never shied away from sharing opinions on hot button contemporary topics, and, in short, NBA coaches and players and front office members certainly do not “stick to sports.”
The problem of course is when Morey does the same thing as Kerr but disrupts business ties and endangers the bottom line. The NBA is being panned by both liberals and conservatives, who are declaring hypocrisy because the league is abandoning these principles in deferment to the almighty dollar.
When you’ve got Republican Senator Ted Cruz on the same side as the left, then you know this is really funky situation:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 7, 2019
The Sixers host China’s Guangzhou Loong Lions tonight in their preseason opener, so the timing there is ironic, isn’t it? I’m not sure if anybody will ask Brett Brown or the players about China, but Mike Sielski wrote about the topic at the Inquirer, so there’s been some venturing into that territory already.
Either way, Silver’s statement is interesting. He’s trying to walk the line as best he can, so we’ll see if China is satisfied with what he has to say or if the disaster continues to snowball.