China and the NBA are coming to blows over a pro-Hong Kong tweet. Here's why.
- The NBA and China are locked in an escalating feud sparked by a tweet that voiced support for protests in Hong Kong.
- The feud began on Friday after Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted out an image that voiced support for protests in Hong Kong.
- Since the tweet, Chinese leagues, streaming services, sponsors, and partners, have cut ties with the Rockets and the NBA.
- Here's how the controversy started - and all of the events that have happened since.
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The NBA and China are locked in an escalating feud sparked by a tweet that voiced support for protests in Hong Kong.For over 18 weeks, millions of people in Hong Kong have taken to the streets for increasingly violent protests. Initially, protests centered around a proposed bill that would have allowed for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to China to face trial. Now, demonstrations have ballooned into a fight against police brutality and Chinese encroachment on the semi-autonomous city. Advertisement
Though the bill has since been withdrawn, protests continue and have recently seen a spike in violent clashes between police and protesters as China marked its 70th anniversary on October 1. The topic of Hong Kong protests remains a sensitive issue for China, and China has been known to take harsh action against companies that so much as reference its domestic affairs or appear to threaten its authority.
As described by The New York Times, basketball is China's most popular sport, with a market representing hundreds of millions of fans. According to CNBC, more than 640 million people in China watched the 2017-2018 NBA season.On Friday, Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted out an image which voiced support for protests in Hong Kong. In the days following, Chinese leagues, streaming services, sponsors, and partners, have cut ties with the Rockets and the NBA.
Here's everything you need to know about the feud, from the initial tweet to the escalating backlash.
On October 4, Morey tweeted out an image that voiced support for a protest group in Hong Kong.
In response to the backlash, Tilman Fertitta, the owner of the Rockets, addressed the controversy on October 5.Advertisement
On October 6, the Chinese Basketball Association, which represents China in the International Basketball Federation, announced it was halting cooperation with the Rockets in response to the tweet.
Several of the Rocket's sponsors and partners announced that they would no longer broadcast games.Advertisement
The Chinese consulate in Houston said in a statement that it was "deeply shocked" by what it described as Morey's "erroneous comments on Hong Kong."
On Sunday evening, the NBA responded and called the tweet "regrettable."Advertisement
On October 7, Democrat and Republican lawmakers hit back over the NBA's 'shameful' response to Chinese backlash.
The NBA issued another statement on October 8. This time, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would not "censor" players or team owners.Advertisement
Following Morey's statement, Chinese broadcasters said they would stop broadcasting NBA games.
Fans have since weighed in on the controversy. On Tuesday, fans began showing up to games with T-shirts and signs voicing support for Hong Kong.Advertisement
On October 9, all of the NBA's official Chinese partners cut ties.
On October 10, a reporter for CNN was cut off from asking a question to NBA athletes about the conflict.Advertisement
And Nike, a major partner of the NBA which provides the league with team apparel, pulled Houston Rockets gear from several stores in China.
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