Deleted Tweet From Rockets GM Causes Friction With Chinese Government

Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong protesters

Houston Rockets
A since-deleted tweet from the Houston Rockets GM has led to a clash with the Chinese government.
Keith Allison/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / October 6, 2019 12:43 pm

On Friday night, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted a message of support to protestors in Hong Kong via his Twitter account. The message read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” and it was later deleted after Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta noted that Morley’s comment was not on behalf of the team itself. 

For some in the Chinese government, that doesn’t seem to have mattered. The Chinese Basketball Association — currently chaired by onetime Rockets great Yao Ming — announced that it would “suspend cooperation” with the Rockets following Morey’s comments.

That may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Deadspin is reporting that Tencent Holdings, the NBA’a digital partner in China, “announced that it will indefinitely suspend media coverage of anything related to Morey, and is reportedly offering a “switch home teams” option for fans who purchased a Rockets single team plan on China’s version of NBA League Pass.”

Tencent reporter Yu Fu has been covering the schism, and his Twitter feed has featured an array of updates on the situation — which seems to be getting more severe by the hour.

Deadspin’s report notes that the Rockets have historically been one of the most popular NBA teams in China, due to Yao Ming’s prominence on their roster for many years — meaning that the potential of a blackout for the team in China could have significant repercussions. But so far, nothing has changed in Houston: ESPN reports that Fertitta has made a public statement of support for Morey.

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