Tuesday night, a pair of Sixers fans were kicked out of the Wells Fargo Center during the preseason matchup against China’s Guangzhou Loong Lions. Sam Wachs and his wife sat about five rows behind the visitors’ bench, holding signs that said “Free Hong Kong,” and found themselves getting the boot during the game’s second quarter.
In a statement, both the Sixers and the WFC (run by Comcast-Spectacor), explained that the couple were issued warnings for their “disruptive behavior” before tossing them from the arena.
Guangzhou continued their U.S. tour with a trip to Washington last night, where the fallout from the NBA’s China debacle continued.
These guys had their sign taken:
— Jon Schweppe (@JonSchweppe) October 9, 2019
Here’s that video clip:
“Free Tibet” protest during between the Washington Wizards and China's Guangzhou Loong-Lions. Sadly they were thrown out of the game of peaceful protest. They were just two of them. Coward NBA.#NBAChina #FreeTibet #Tibet #SaveTibet #NBA@NBA @freetibetorg @SFTHQ pic.twitter.com/E1YS8X1Uye
— Dorje Jigme (@DorjeJigme_DJ) October 10, 2019
And unlike the Philly game, protesters gathered outside of the Capital One Arena this time around.
The Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions 137-98 in a game that included more than a half-dozen protests inside Capital One Arena over the NBA’s ongoing rift with the Chinese government.
Protesters handed out “Free Hong Kong” T-shirts on the street outside the arena before the exhibition game. The protesters, who said they were from Freedom House, held up signs reading, “Shame the NBA,” ”South Park was right” and “Memo to the NBA: Principles over profit! No censorship! USA loves Hong Kong.”
In China proper, the Nets/Lakers exhibition game did end up taking place, though China shut down media access to players in addition to removing signage promoting the contest. The game reportedly was not shown on TV, replaced instead with a soccer broadcast. That turn of events incurred the wrath of the “shut up and dribble” crowd, who pointed out that most NBA players have declined to speak on the China situation despite turning down invitations to the White House for political reasons, and/or openly speaking on American socio-political issues in the past. It’s “hypocrisy” and whatnot, according to people like Clay Travis, who offered this take on the Philly ejections:
“In Philadelphia — where our Bill of Rights, and our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution found full fruition — a man and a woman were kicked out of the arena of an NBA game for saying ‘Free Hong Kong’ during a free throw. This is pretty wild.”—@ClayTravis pic.twitter.com/uKD2YNicMN
— Outkick the Coverage (@Outkick) October 10, 2019
Indeed, it’s pretty wild, as I type this from a computer made in China while wearing a pair of pants stitched in Vietnam.
Fascinating story though. Commissioner Adam Silver didn’t exactly apologize to China for Daryl Morey’s tweet, so we’ll see what happens next.