UPDATE (Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 5.07pm CST): The Weibo account of Tencent Sports released a post today at 4.40pm stating that it will also temporarily suspend the broadcasting of NBA preseason games.
In response to comments made by NBA commissioner Adam Silver about Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s controversial tweet over the weekend, Chinese broadcaster CCTV has decided to suspend the broadcast of NBA preseason games and will investigate all cooperation with the National Basketball Association.
While CCTV and Tencent initially stated they would not show Houston Rockets games, the comments made by Silver have worsened matters.
According to The Paper, CCTV today released a statement which read:
We’ve taken notice of the response of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who is currently participating in an event in Japan, to Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s inappropriate tweet about Hong Kong-related events. We are deeply dissatisfied with and oppose Silver’s remark that he supported Morey’s right to free speech. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech.
As such, CCTV has decided to immediately suspend the broadcast arrangements for the NBA preseason (China Games) and will immediately investigate all cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA.
Silver’s comments came as he spoke with Japanese news agency Kyodo News. According to Reuters, Silver said, “I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear... that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression. I accept that it is also Chinese governments’ and Chinese businesses’ right to react to those words and, at least from my long-time experience in the NBA, it will take some time to heal some of these issues.”
A number of high profile Chinese celebrities and companies have come out in opposition to Morey’s tweet. The CBA announced that they would cease cooperation with the Houston Rockets, while team sponsors Li-Ning and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank also denounced Morey’s tweet. Former NBA ambassador and popstar Cai Xukun also announced that he would cease cooperation with the association.
New Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai also weighed in on the controversy, saying, “the hurt that this incident has caused will take a long time to repair.”
The Nets are scheduled to take on the Los Angeles Lakers in exhibition games in Shanghai on Thursday and Shenzhen on Saturday this week. However, the possibility of these games taking place seems more and more unlikely. The Chinese education bureau canceled an event that was supposed to take place at the New World Experimental School in Shanghai today.
[Cover image via Pixabay]