round 25 million people in China were reportedly watching an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat over the weekend when their stream was suddenly cut off.
The online broadcaster, Tencent Sports, said in a short statement which then appeared on screen that the game did not “correspond to broadcasting standards” without giving any further explanation.
As you might imagine, the decision generated anger among many Chinese NBA basketball fans, as well as people going back to review the footage to see what had brought on the move, spotting a man seated in the first row with a Republic of China flag on his shirt.
The man’s wardrobe certainly appears to have been the trigger that caused the widely-watched stream to get abruptly shut down. Tencent’s own highlights from the game don’t even show any plays that took place on the side of the court that the man was sitting on.
This all follows last month’s NBA-China drama kicked off by a tweet of support for the Hong Kong protests made by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey. In the aftermath, Tencent, the league’s online Chinese streaming partner, has not broadcast any Rockets games while some fans have shown up to games in pro-HK attire and bamboozled cameramen.