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How A Tweet Over Hong Kong Opened Up A Rift Between The NBA And China

Daryl Morey, General Manager for the Houston Rockets, speaks in Houston, Texas
Daryl Morey, General Manager for the Houston Rockets, speaks in Houston, Texas

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Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried Sunday to defuse the rapidly growing fallout over his deleted tweet that showed support for Hong Kong anti-government protesters, saying he did not intend to offend any of the team's Chinese fans or sponsors.

A short time after Morey posted that statement, the NBA said it was "regrettable" that the deleted tweet offended many in China. And all that followed several companies in China, including some of the NBA's major business partners there, lashing out over Morey's original tweet.

Morey tweeted an image that read "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." referring to the four-month-old protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. That led to Houston owner Tilman Fertitta turning to Twitter to say that Morey does not speak for the Rockets, and sparking an outcry that included the Chinese Basketball Association - whose president is Yao Ming, the former Rockets star center - saying it was suspending its relationship with the team.    

In response to the tweet, China’s state-owned television network CCTV says it will suspend the broadcast of the league’s pre-season games in the country.

With files from the Associated Press


Ben Golliver, reporter covering the NBA for the Washington Post, he tweets at @BenGolliver

Julie Wernau, reporter covering China’s consumer market for the Wall Street Journal, she tweets at @littlewern