The NBA has attempted to clarify that it respects the right of its leaders, coaches and players to express their views on social and political issues, but two stars of the Houston Rockets have been prevented from attending. to do after their preparatory match in Japan on Thursday. According to the league, this was not supposed to happen.
When a reporter questions James Harden and Russell Westbrook on a question related to the situation in China after Houston's victory over the Raptors (118-111), a member of the Rockets team intervenes quickly to announce that players would answer "basketball questions only".
James Harden and Russell Westbrook were questioned that they "would feel differently" about their discussions on political and social issues because of the events that occurred between the NBA and China.
A spokesman interrupted and informed the reporter that the players would only answer questions about basketball. pic.twitter.com/zMe8uWz2hY
– Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) October 10, 2019
It was actually a more general question, namely whether Westbrook and Harden would hesitate to express themselves freely given all that had happened in recent days, but they were still prevented from answering them.
A few hours later, the NBA stated that the Rockets staff member was "improperly interposed" and apologized to the journalist who had been interrupted.
Today the NBA comments on the Rockets post-game in Japan: "One team representative improperly interfered with preventing Christina Macfarlane from CNN from receiving an answer to her question. We apologized to Ms. Macfarlane because it was inconsistent with the way the NBA organizes media events. "
– Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 10, 2019
This is another example of the disorder in which this situation has become. The NBA is caught between protecting its multi-billion dollar business interests and the consistency of its longstanding ideas on freedom of expression, and that is precisely why Commissioner Adam Silver had to publish several statements this week.
Rockets chief executive Daryl Morey has angered many Chinese people by tweeting his support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. China being a communist country, Silver must now distinguish between staying on the right side of his communist trading partners and supporting a league leader who essentially said that "democracy is a good thing". There is simply no easy way to manage it. and that's why there has been so much flip-flop on the issue.