This is refreshing.
The progressive NBA commissioner Adam Silver supported what Rockets general manager Daryl Morey did in retweeting a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protest movement rather than condemning him privately and publicly. Never mind the NBA does business in China, which benefits both economically. The protest movement represented speaking out against the Hong Kong government.
Everything does not come with a price after all.
With so much at stake, the NBA stands to lose money and business relationship with China. The league likes to promote its product globally. This is a league that has exhibition and even regular season games all over the country. It’s been a comfortable relationship with the league and countries around the world for a long time now with players from other countries getting an opportunity to play in the NBA and live in America.
It’s the last thing the owners and even some players want. Morey put the league in a situation that Silver would rather not be in. But the commissioner had no choice here. He promoted all this time about expressing social rights and having his employees be expressive about what they believe in. He would come off as a fraud if he actually condemned an NBA executive, and it would be a bad look for him if he supported China for the sake of money.
It was the only thing to do. Still, Silver deserves credit for standing up for what’s right, even if the league stands to lose credibility with China. Already, certain businesses in China disassociated itself with the league.
Repercussions continued with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV not airing the Nets’ exhibition matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers and a ceremonial NBA Cares event for an educational center in Shanghai with the Nets and Lakers being canceled on Tuesday. This comes after the Chinese Basketball Association suspended its relationship with the Houston Rockets on China’s behest, and Chinese media giant Tencent and Chinese state television would not broadcast Houston Rockets games. The Lakers game against the Nets could be canceled at Shanghai, especially after the banners celebrating the event was taken away.
No question if David Stern ran the league as commissioner, he would condemn Morey publicly. In fact, he would get Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to fire his general manager as a consequence for speaking out of turn and alienating the league’s endorser.
With Stern, it’s all about the money and everyone staying in line by keeping quiet and not make any waves as in stick to sports. With the former commissioner, it’s him that is in control of everything and everyone serves as his underlings from players to executives and even owners. He played the role of a dictator well during his time with so much success. It would be fitting if he supported Hong Kong.
Silver could follow the same playbook, but to his credit, he wanted to be his own guy. He aimed to create a partnership with the players as his first order of business. He sought to make his own impact, and he did that just a few months into the job in following the players’ demand to get disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling out of basketball after he made a racial comment about Magic Johnson.
It’s been smooth sailing for Stern’s replacement for the most part. The NBA continues to make money and generate ratings. Now, the league makes news all year long from the regular season to postseason to even the offseason. Controversy rarely exists in the sport.
Now, Silver must navigate things with the tension going on with China and his league. There’s no doubt he will smooth things over, but will China play along is another story? One thing going for the league is China needs the NBA more than the other way around. Fans love their NBA basketball over there, and there would be unrest if the games are denied.
This can’t be an easy thing to do. Deep down, Silver wish Morey would not raise a pandora’s box, but it happened.
Morey shouldn’t apologize for expressing his opinion or support. Especially when he never tweeted anything. All he did was offer support for the people of Hong Kong that wants democracy by retweeting a tweet. Of course, he was told to unretweet it by Fertitta after being reprimanded by him.
It’s refreshing athletes, coaches or executives are immersed in social issues or world issues. It shows how educated they are, and they are smarter than the average fan gives credit to. We should be happy that they raise awareness of what’s going on in society. After all, they seek to make this world a better place outside of just being entertainers. They have every right to express their opinion on world views just like anyone else in this great country of ours. Sticking to sports or staying in their lane does no one good.
China made this more of a story than anyone else. Apparently, Morey’s retweet of anti-government struck a nerve.
This world should be about democracy. It’s what makes America great. The freedom to choose, and the freedom to live. Every country should experience this. It’s why Morey should be commended, not ostracized by his boss.
Silver had no choice but to stand his ground and not sacrifice his principles for the almighty dollar.
Sometimes money is not that important.
The league will do just fine without China’s help, so Silver can afford to sacrifice money for the common good.
Maybe just maybe Morey raised awareness where good will come out of this.