Chinese state media says Adam Silver will face ‘retribution’ for latest comments
Adam Silver has tried to make it clear recently that the NBA never intended to undermine freedom of speech with its handling of the situation between China and the league, and Chinese officials are furious about some of the latest remarks the commissioner made on the topic.
While speaking at the Time 100 Health Summit in New York this week, Silver admitted he may have tried too hard to be a diplomat when he he said he regretted the way Daryl Morey’s support for the protests in Hong Kong angered some in China. He also said the Chinese government wanted the NBA to remove Morey from his position as general manager of the Houston Rockets. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday that the “Chinese government never posed this requirement.”
On Saturday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV unloaded on Silver for continuing to defend Morey.
“Silver has spared no effort to portray himself as a fighter for free speech and used freedom of speech as an excuse to cover for Morey, who voiced his support for the violent actors in Hong Kong,” CCTV said, via Catherine Wong of the South China Morning Post. “This has crossed the bottom line of the Chinese people.”
Chinese officials added that Silver has “defamed” China and proven he operates with “double standards.”
“To please some American politicians, Silver has fabricated lies out of nothing and has sought to paint China as unforgiving,” the broadcaster said.
There’s little question the NBA has taken financial consequences into consideration, but it seems like they are adapting as they realize how strongly fans in America feel about the issues in China. LeBron James has done a terrible job of living up to his self-proclaimed social justice warrior status, but others like Doc Rivers have publicly backed Morey this week. Expect things to keep trending in that direction, regardless of how strongly Chinese officials oppose it.
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