BA Commissioner Adam Silver has managed to further piss off China’s net users by voicing the NBA’s support for Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s right to post what he did.
Morey sparked a political shitstorm over the weekend by tweeting out in support of the protests in Hong Kong. A move that led to Chinese broadcasters declaring that they would not be showing any Rockets games and the Chinese Basketball Association suspending its cooperation with the team.
The NBA’s own statement on the crisis has been condemned on both sides for being too weak with Chinese netizens demanding an actual apology and many of those in the United States calling for the league to stand up for Morey at the risk of losing out on the Chinese market.
When asked directly about the matter on Monday by Japan’s Kyodo News, Silver, who is in Tokyo to watch some preseason games, acknowledged the damage done by Morey’s tweet and took offense at the suggestion that the NBA is not supporting him.
“There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” he said. “There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have.”
“I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear… that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.”
The report on Silver’s comments quickly made its way to Weibo at around midnight where one post on the popular “Breaking News” account was hit with some rather shocking top comments.
“Then I can only support 9/11,” read the top comment on the thread with more than 9,000 likes. (那我只能支持911了)
“Support freedom of speech? Then, I support Californian independence,” read another. (支持言论自由?那我支持加州独立)
“I can only say that 9/11 was a beautiful day for America. After all, freedom of speech,” read one more. (只能说911对于大米国来说是美好的一天，毕竟言论自由)
The comments were evidently too much for even China’s frequently nationalistic Twitter replacement and the thread has since been deleted from Weibo.
However, if you search for “911” on Weibo, you’ll still find a number of Chinese netizens, echoing the same sentiments against freedom of speech, asking what the difference is between what Morey tweeted and the statement “Fight for freedom. Stand by 9/11.”