NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he will not censor players, team owners, or league officials for speaking their mind. The NBA became mired in controversy after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters as the NBA prepares to play a pair of preseason games in China. Chinese officials condemned his tweet and the league tried to distance itself from his comments.
On Tuesday (October 8), Silver spoke to reporters about the issue in Japan and refused to apologize for Morey's comments, saying that he had every right to express his opinions.
"The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees, and team owners say or will not say," Silver said in the statement. "We simply could not operate that way."
Chinese officials are not happy with the NBA, and China's state-run broadcaster, CCTV, said they will not air a pair of preseason games scheduled to take place in the country.
"We're strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver's claim to support Morey's right to freedom of expression," CCTV said in a statement. "We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech."
Silver said he did not expect CCTV to cancel the broadcast of the games, but is willing to accept the consequences.
"I do know there are consequences from freedom of speech; we will have to live with those consequences," Silver told reporters. "For those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business."
Silver still plans to travel to China and the games are still happening, even if they won't be televised.
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