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#pounditThursday, August 13, 2020

Articles tagged: Daryl Morey

Shaq backs Daryl Morey over China situation, cites ‘free speech’

Shaq TNT

Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal backed Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Tuesday night amid an ongoing feud between China, the NBA and many American critics, such as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

Morey drew heat from James and a handful of other NBA players after expressing support for Hong Kong citizens, who are fighting the Chinese government over various human rights injustices.

But Shaq wasn’t having it.

“And, one of our best values here in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that’s just how it goes,” O’Neal told the pre-game TNT panel. “If people don’t understand that, that’s something they have to deal with.

“I just thought it was unfortunate for both parties, and then you have people speaking when they don’t know what they’re talking about. But Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say ‘that’s not right,’ and that’s what he did.”

After suggesting they wouldn’t just “shut up and dribble” when it related to perceived American injustices, James & Co. were quick to button their lips and just dribble when their Chinese money was at stake.

That stance drew wide bi-partisan criticism, and Shaq wasn’t ready to sweep it all under the rug just yet.

Charles Barkley, on the other hand, was quick to push back against Shaq.

“We all have a responsibility to our employer,” Barkley said. “I can’t come on TV and say anything I want to politically. I can’t do that. His allegiance is to the Houston Rockets and the NBA, and he can quit if he’s not happy with it.”

Barkley may not get it, James certainly doesn’t get it, but Shaq seems to. The rights to life and freedom far outweigh any employment allegiances or income.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

Adam Silver: China wanted Daryl Morey to be fired

Daryl Morey

The NBA was heavily criticized for its initial response to the tweet Daryl Morey sent supporting protestors in Hong Kong, but commissioner Adam Silver says anyone who believes the league has caved to the demands of Chinese officials is wrong. If they had, Morey would no longer be the general manager of the Houston Rockets.

While speaking at the TIME 100 Health Summit on Thursday, Silver said the media coverage of the NBA’s response to Morey’s tweet and the fallout it caused was “confusing” in that he thought the league had clearly taken a “principled position.” Silver felt it was clear from the jump that the NBA was supporting freedom of speech.

“Maybe I was trying too hard to be a diplomat,” Silver said. “I didn’t see it as my role as the commissioner of the NBA to weigh in on the substance of the protest, but to say here’s this platform (for free expression).”

Many believe the NBA is doing all it can to protect its bottom line, but Silver said the league is willing to accept millions in losses. He said the “losses have already been substantial” from a business standpoint, and he noted how Chinese officials immediately called for him to remove Morey from his position with Houston.

“We made clear that we were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business,” Silver said. “We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.

“These American values — we are an American business — travel with us wherever we go. And one of those values is free expression. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood we were supporting free expression.”

There’s little question the NBA has taken financial consequences into consideration on some level, and 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, though some will view it as already too late.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

Blazers coach Terry Stotts backs Daryl Morey over Hong Kong tweet

Terry Stotts

People within the NBA community are slowly starting to back Daryl Morey after the Houston Rockets general manager started a firestorm by tweeting about the protests in Hong Kong, and Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is among those who supports Morey’s point of view.

Stotts was asked about the controversy between China and the NBA this week, and he complimented NBA commissioner Adam Silver for doing an “excellent job” managing a difficult situation. He also said he sides with those standing up for freedom of speech and democracy.

The latter point is the important one. While there’s no question Morey’s tweet has sparked controversy for the NBA and could potentially cost the league billions of dollars, the GM was supporting protestors who are fighting in favor of democracy in a communist country. That should be a cause self-proclaimed social justice warriors like LeBron James get behind, but some — including LeBron — have been hesitant to support Morey out of fear that their bank accounts could be impacted.

Both Stotts and Doc Rivers have supported Morey despite the fallout, while other prominent NBA coaches have been a bit more hesitant.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

Doc Rivers backs Daryl Morey: He was right in saying that

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers appears to be the first NBA figure to stand with Daryl Morey.

The Los Angeles Clippers head coach spoke with reporters on Tuesday and said Morey “was right in saying that” but there are consequences to every action.

“It’s a tough issue, clearly, and that’s what it is,” said Rivers.

There it is. Someone from the NBA finally said it: Morey was right, but there are consequences, as we have seen.

This is the statement Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich and LeBron James should have said. Instead, Kerr feigned ignorance on the subject, Popovich defended Adam Silver, and LeBron blamed Morey for not thinking of the players.

From the way he helped guide the Clippers through the Donald Sterling audio tapes to his handling of player personalities and political issues and his recognition of big moments, Rivers has long shown he is an excellent leader. He failed to disappoint once again.

UPDATE: Rivers later clarified he supported Morey’s right to express himself.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

LeBron James already backtracking off Daryl Morey China comments?

LeBron James

LeBron James has been widely criticized for his first public comments about the NBA’s China-Hong Kong controversy, and he already seems to be backtracking.

James spoke on Monday about the matter and said he did not think Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was “educated” on the subject when Morey tweeted his support of the Hong Kong protests against an oppressive communist government.

Not long after James’ comments circulated online and the Los Angeles Lakers star began to receive negative attention, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears tweeted a supposed clarification. According to Spears’ report, James was talking about the ramifications of Morey’s tweet when he said the Rockets GM was misinformed.

What difference does it make what James was talking about? Would Morey have thought twice if he realized all the fallout his tweet would have caused? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s not like he was coming down on the wrong side of history. He was supporting democracy in the face of communism. Very few in America are disagreeing with Morey.

Whatever his intent, James’ comments are a contradiction based on everything he has billed himself as the past several years — someone who champions free speech and standing up for the right to speak out against injustices. In the past, he never seemed to indicate financial considerations were an important factor to evaluate when it came to social justice matters.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

LeBron James: Daryl Morey was not educated about China-Hong Kong matter

LeBron James

LeBron James has finally weighed in on the NBA’s controversy with China, and he disappointed with his comments.

James, who is at the forefront of the athlete empowerment movement, said on Monday that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was not “educated” about the Hong Kong matter before speaking. James also noted there were financial, physical, emotional and spiritual consequences to Morey’s tweet.

This is an incredibly disappointing and maddening response from James. He talks about the importance of free speech and social justice all the time, yet when it comes to Hong Kong protests, he thinks it’s wrong of Morey to come out in support of the protesters who were acting in favor of justice and free speech against a communist country that practices governmental censorship?

James, Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich are three of the most noteworthy figures in the league who are typically unafraid to speak out and set a good example. When it came to China, all three failed to stand up for Morey, which is incredibly disappointing. James seems to be more than an athlete until all his business interests (ahem, Nike) get in the way.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

Report: Kyle Kuzma, other players had sponsorship deals pulled while in China

Kyle Kuzma

The financial ramifications of the situation between China and the NBA have yet to be fully realized, but some players who were overseas for exhibition games last week experienced direct consequences in the wake of Daryl Morey’s controversial tweets.

Shams Charania of The Athletic has shared numerous behind-the-scenes details from the ongoings in China over the past week or so, and he was told by sources that several Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets players — one of which was Kyle Kuzma — lost money when sponsorship appearances were canceled. The same was true for at least two Houston Rockets players.

The Lakers and Nets ended up playing in Shanghai despite plenty of uncertainty and uneasiness surrounding their exhibition games. The Chinese government canceled all media appearances and went to great lengths to remove sponsorship logos from the arena where the games were held, and some believe they chose not to cancel the games to show the NBA what an event would look like without endorsements and sponsorship money.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has his work cut out for him in what has become an incredibly complicated situation, but Charania reports that front office and ownership sources feel Silver has been able to stabilize the situation overall. However, the belief around the league is that there could be “irreparable losses for the Rockets in the indefinite future.”

All of this started with Morey tweeting his support of the pro-democracy protests that have been going on in China. Fans both in China and the United States have been upset over the way the NBA has handled the situation, and some fans were even ejected from a game in Philadelphia last week over an issue related to the topic.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!