The NBA released a statement after Houston Rockets owner Daryl Morey set a storm in China by posting an image on Twitter that read, "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong."
The NBA statement read "We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals' educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together."
Daryl Morey later deleted his tweet, but the story did not die down. The Chinese Basketball Association said that it would suspend all ties with the Texas-based team. The Chinese consulate in Houston also released a statement, which said " We expressed shock and strong dissatisfaction with the fact that Rockets general manager Morey made a false statement about Hong Kong. He has already made solemn representations to the Rockets asking the team to clarify, correct the mistakes immediately, and take practical measures to eliminate the bad effects." The statement took a more political turn later, "At present, the fight against violence and the restoration of the order are the broadest consensuses and the strongest appeal of all sectors of society in Hong Kong. Anyone with a conscience should support the efforts of the Hong Kong SAR Government to maintain social stability in Hong Kong."
Morey's tweet referred to the protests that have been going on for months where protestors are asking for rights to gain independence. Over time, the subject of these protests has broadened.
The NBA and the Rockets have already faced results of the backlash. The merchandise of the Rockets is no longer visible on the Chinese platform Taobao. Another Chinese sporting goods brand said that it was suspending all ties with the team because of the statements by the Morey. Streaming and news partners have stopped covering the team as well.