Houston Rockets GM Tweets, Promptly Deletes, Support for Hong Kong Protests
Should American Organizations Take a Harder Stance in Favor of Human Rights?
Daryl Morey, General Manager for the Houston Rockets, tweeted an image supporting the Hong Kong protests before deleting it. The weekend tweet caused significant controversy in China, and many Chinese business are threatening to cut ties with the Rockets. The franchise has significant financial ties with China, and several Chinese media companies announced that they would no longer stream Rockets games or report on the team.
The backlash prompted apologies from both Morey and the NBA. Morey also distanced his deleted tweet from the Rockets and the NBA, and he made it clear that the views were his own.
Basketball is huge in China. The NBA is the most watched professional sports league in the county and the market accounts for a non-trivial portion of the leagues revenue. The NBA, like most American sports franchises, has made it clear that they are not a political organization, but the NBA’s response drew harsh criticism from American politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Republican Senator Rick Scott tweeted: "The NBA is kowtowing to Beijing to protect their bottom line and disavowing those with the temerity to #standwithHongKong. Shameful!”
Meanwhile, Democratic Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke tweeted: “The only thing the NBA should be apologizing for is their blatant prioritization of profits over human rights."
Do you agree with the NBA’s response? Do professional sports organizations have a moral obligation to choose ethics over economics? What responsibility, if any, do professional sports leagues have to stand up for human rights violations? Let us know what you think.
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