Adam Silver Claims China Wanted Daryl Morey Fired for Hong Kong Tweet

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang is disputing that account

Adam Silver Claims China Wanted Daryl Morey Fired for Hong Kong Tweet
NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks during the TIME 100 Health Summit. (Brian Ach/Getty Images for TIME)
Getty Images for TIME 100 Health
By Evan Bleier / October 18, 2019 10:03 am

It’s been two weeks since the tweet heard round the world, but the fallout from the NBA-China controversy continues.

Addressing the issue at the TIME 100 Health Summit on Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said China asked that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey be fired for his early October tweet supporting protesters in Hong Kong. Silver said no.

“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 at the Time summit. “We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”

China is disputing Silver’s account, according to The Associated Press.

“The Chinese government never posed this requirement,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

Whether China asked for Morey to be fired or not, the Chinese government did refuse to broadcast two NBA preseason games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets last week on state-run broadcaster CCTV.  Tencent, a platform with $1.5 billion deal to stream NBA games in China, has stopped showing Rockets games.

At the Time event, Silver called the losses from the tweet “substantial” but said the league is willing to cope with them. “I don’t know where we go from here,” he said. “The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic.”

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