NBA megastar LeBron James cowered to the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Monday while talking to reporters about the backlash that Houston Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey received for advocating for Hong Kong’s freedom.
“We all talk about this freedom of speech, yes, we all do have freedom of speech but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking about yourself,” James said. “I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
“So, just be careful what we tweet and say and what we do even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech there can be a lot of negatives that comes with that too,” James concluded.
LeBron James rips Daryl Morey, says Morey was uneducated. Says, “We do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negatives that come with that too.” Really. pic.twitter.com/ZTw6a3FZ5n
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 15, 2019
Morey tweeted out a graphic a couple of weeks ago that stated: “Fight For Freedom Stand With Hong Kong.”
“The Houston Rockets suddenly find themselves in the middle of a geopolitical controversy that could put their chief front-office executive’s job in jeopardy,” The Ringer reported. “After general manager Daryl Morey expressed support in a since-deleted tweet for pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong, the Chinese government, the Chinese Basketball Association, and various Chinese businesses quickly denounced Morey and moved to sever ties with the Rockets. As a consequence, league sources told The Ringer that Rockets ownership has debated Morey’s employment status and whether to replace him.”
NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass released the following statement:
We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.
Morey later apologized for standing up for freedom, tweeting: “I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives. I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.”
Reaction to James’ statement late on Monday night exploded online with the video garnering over 1.5 million views in the first hour that it was posted to social media.
Binyamin Appelbaum tweeted: “Daryl Morey: Freedom is good. LeBron James: Daryl Morey is wrong.”
Daryl Morey: Freedom is good.
LeBron James: Daryl Morey is wrong. https://t.co/9fOUdQqihl
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) October 15, 2019
Chuck Ross tweeted: “Wonder which re-education camp LeBron thinks Morley should attend.”
Wonder which re-education camp LeBron thinks Morley should attend. https://t.co/qj5AwvAhCH
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) October 15, 2019
Tommy Vietor tweeted: “Wow is this answer by @KingJames wrong and embarrassing for him. It’s one thing to duck the question. This is actively spreading disinformation.”
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) October 15, 2019
Dan McLaughlin tweeted: “Very clear by now the NBA has talking points on this – multiple players & coaches have talked about being ‘educated’ or knowing the ‘history’ as if they need to read up on CCP propaganda to unsee what is in front of them.”
Very clear by now the NBA has talking points on this – multiple players & coaches have talked about being “educated” or knowing the “history” as if they need to read up on CCP propaganda to unsee what is in front of them. https://t.co/QI3rtcj8aZ
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 15, 2019