CBA, sponsors halt cooperation with Houston Rockets after GM tweets supporting HK riots

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/6 15:45:32

Photo: VCG

Chinese Basketball Association and a number of the team's sponsors and partners in China announced on Sunday to suspend cooperation with the Houston Rockets after the team's general manager voiced his support for riots in Hong Kong, triggering outrage from Chinese netizens and sports fans.

The association expressed its strong objection against Daryl Morey's inappropriate comments on Hong Kong affairs.

The sports channel of the China Central Television announced Sunday that it decided to immediately suspend all cooperation and exchanges with the Houston Rockets including broadcasting of its games. 

Chinese live streaming platform Tencent sports channel said on Weibo it would suspend live-steaming and news coverage of the Rockets' game. 

"If you want to switch your support to the other team, we will accommodate the request," the platform said to its members.

A Chinese sponsor of the Houston Rockets, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card Centre, also said Sunday it has halted related market activities with the team for similar reasons.

The announcements came following Morey's now-deleted tweet, in which he expressed his solidarity with the Hong Kong rioters on Saturday. 

Morey's stance outraged Chinese netizens including basketball fans who strongly condemned Morey's comments on Sina Weibo for hurting the sentiments of Chinese basketball fans.

Yang Yi, one of China's renowned basketball analysts, posted on his Weibo account that Morey's remarks reflect a misreading and distortion of Chinese society and politics.

"The Houston Rockets has received numerous sponsors from China since 2017, and the company makes more than $10 million annually in China," Yang said noting that all of these profitmaking is possible because of China's stability.

No institution can disturb China's social order after profiting from China's market, he added.

Stirred by floods of accusations, Tilman Fertitta, the chairman of the Houston Rockets, was quick to respond. He tweeted, "@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets… and we are NOT a political organization."

However, the response did little to appease Chinese netizens. Some Weibo users said that Hong Kong affairs are a bottom line for all Chinese basketball fans, urging the club to punish Morey or fire him.

"No basketball team is bigger than my country. Morey must be punished. The Hong Kong Special Administration Region is a part of China," one Weibo user wrote.


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