In Tokyo, where the team is playing two exhibition matches this week, Harden distanced himself from the controversy. “We apologise. We love China,” he said, standing alongside fellow Rockets guard Russell Westbrook. “We love playing there. Both of us, we go there once or twice a year. They show us most support so we appreciate them.”
The Rockets do not plan to discipline Morey, according to one person with knowledge of the ownership’s thinking who was not authorized to discuss the situation publicly. Yet it remains to be seen how much Morey’s apology will mollify the fans and various entities in China that expressed such loud dismay about Morey’s original Twitter post, in which he shared an image that read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” — referencing the protests that have raged for months. The slogan is commonly chanted at demonstrations and has been spray-painted throughout the city.
In addition to Chinese sponsors such as the shoe company Li Ning and the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Card Center, which both announced that they were pausing their partnerships with the Rockets, team officials faced an immediate backlash from the Chinese Basketball Association and the Chinese consulate in Houston. The basketball association announcement Sunday that it was suspending cooperation with the Rockets was particularly jarring, since the federation president is the Hall of Fame center Yao Ming, who starred from the Rockets from 2002 to 2011. Yao’s N.B.A. success made the Rockets a favorite among Chinese fans.
Chinese broadcaster CCTV has said it will stop showing Houston Rockets games as the backlash in China grows over a tweet backing Hong Kong protests. CCTV's sports channel said in a statement on its Weibo channel Sunday, October 6, that it was "strongly opposed" to the "improper remarks" posted by the basketball team's general manager Daryl Morey.
In a statement late Sunday night, Tsai attempted to bridge the intercontinental divide among fans, but reinforced the chasm that exists in how they perceive the events in Hong Kong. He referred to the protests as a “separatist movement,” a common sentiment in China but a label the demonstrators deny. He framed the movement as a matter of “territorial integrity of China,” though most protesters insist they are uninterested in independence. “I don’t know Daryl personally. I am sure he’s a fine NBA general manager, and I will take at face value his subsequent apology that he was not as well informed as he should have been,” Tsai wrote. “But the hurt that this incident has caused will take a long time to repair.”
Ted Cruz: As a lifelong @HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of protestors in Hong Kong. Now, in pursuit of big $$, the @nba is shamefully retreating. We’re better than this; human rights shouldn’t be for sale & the NBA shouldn’t be assisting Chinese communist censorship.
Julian Castro: China is using its economic power to silence critics—even those in the U.S. The United States must lead with our values and speak out for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, and not allow American citizens to be bullied by an authoritarian government.
Shams Charania: NBA is not disciplining Rockets GM Daryl Morey for his social media post, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Morey also issued apology tonight.
Ramona Shelburne: New Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai has been a major asset for the NBA in managing this crisis in China. Just as he was with UCLA during the LiAngelo Ball incident.
Sam Amick: Two sources with knowledge of the Rockets' ownership thinking strongly refute the Ringer report indicating that the GM Daryl Morey's job is in jeopardy as a result of the Hong Kong tweet-China situation. That being said, it's undeniably a mess.
Marc Stein: Echoing what @Sam Amick just tweeted, one source with knowledge of the situation tells @NYTSports that Houston has "no discipline" planned for Rockets GM Daryl Morey in the wake of this weekend's Hong Kong/China Twitter controversy
Daryl Morey: I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.
Chris Mannix: Expect the NBA to issue a statement tonight addressing the controversy sparked by a tweet from Rockets GM Daryl Morey that expressed support for Hong Kong's fight for freedom.
The ongoing controversy and backlash regarding a controversial tweet about Hong Kong from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey reached high political levels Sunday when Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang weighed in. “The Chinese government banning the Rockets is a terrible move,” Yang tweeted Sunday. The response from Chinese organizations comes after Morey tweeted an image early Saturday that read, “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.”
Alykhan Bijani: Chinese Consulate General Spokesperson released a statement: “We have lodged representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Houston Rockets, and urged the latter to correct the error and take immediate concrete measures to eliminate the adverse impact.”
Steve Kyler: The Tencent reaction to Daryl Morey is a major deal. Rockets are the top team in China and pull in a sizable amount of additional revenue from that. They have China only sponsors. If they are blocked, that's a major hit for the franchise.
Yu Fu: Tencent now offers "switch home team" option to Rockets fans who bought single team pass. It could be the signal that Rockets games won't be broadcasted from now on. We will see the result next week.
Andrew Bogut: Thanks @dmorey for taking some of the nmsl’s I was flooded with....! Enjoy the next few weeks anytime you post anything! 😂 #nmsl
In a later interview with ESPN, Mr Fertitta insisted that his relationship with Mr Morey remained strong. "I have the best general manager in the league," Mr Fertitta told ESPN. "Everything is fine with Daryl and me. We got a huge backlash, and I wanted to make clear that (the organisation) has no (political) position. We're here to play basketball and not to offend anybody."
Difference of opinions on Twitter within the Houston Rockets: after a message of support for the cause of Hong Kong by team GM Daryl Morey, Rockets’owner Tilman Fertitta has distanced himself and the franchise on the issue, claiming that “Morey does NOT speak for the Houston Rockets” and referencing to the team presence in Japan for the NBA preseason.
Tilman Fertitta: Listen.... @dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization. @espn https://twitter.com/dmorey/status/1180312072027947008
Olgun Uluc: Interesting situation going on with Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, right now: - Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong. - Rockets owner, Tilman Fertitta, quickly distanced the team from the tweet, which has a big Chinese fanbase. - Morey’s latest tweet has been ratioed by Chinese users. pic.twitter.com/5pEHPudZ58
February 5, 2023 | 3:23 pm EST Update
Ian Begley: Nets and Mavs have a deal to send Kyrie Irving to Dallas, league source confirms. Lakers had offer earlier in week that included Russell Westbrook and a first round pick for Irving. The Athletic first reported Irving to Dallas.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Nets-Mavericks talks accelerated on a trade today, sources said. The Lakers and Nets had several conversations on a potential deal, but Nets preferred Mavs’ package — getting back a point guard and wing to plug in now plus the future picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Mavericks GM Nico Harrison has a long history with Irving going back to their Nike days together – and Jason Kidd wanted this trade. Dallas needed a second star for Luka Doncic and gets him with Irving. Mavs can see how it goes and decide on new deal in offseason.
Shams Charania: The Mavericks are sending a 2029 unprotected first-round pick, a 2027 second-round pick and a 2029 second round-pick to the Nets, sources @TheAthletic @Stadium. Brooklyn also is sending Markieff Morris to Dallas.
February 5, 2023 | 3:06 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: BREAKING: The Brooklyn Nets are trading Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a first-round and multiple second-round picks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.