The NBA found itself in a lot of hot water last week when they apologized to China because the manager of the Houston Rockets showed support of protesters in Hong Kong. Now, fans say they were booted from a Philadelphia 76ers game for showing the same support.
NBA Fans Say “Free Hong Kong”
76ers fan Sam Wachs says he and his wife were kicked out of the basketball arena on Tuesday for holding signs that said “Free Hong Kong” and “Free HK.” The Sixers were playing against a Chinese team, the Guangzhou Loong-Lions.
“We were just sitting in our seats near the Chinese bench,” Sam Wachs said.
Arena security first took away their signs in support of the protesters in Hong Kong which have drawn millions out to march in the streets.
Despite no longer having their signs, Wachs admits he yelled “Free Hong Kong” during the second quarter of the game. And that was apparently the final straw.
Wachs and his wife say after that they were forced to leave the game.
“We were saying, ‘Free Hong Kong,’’ Wachs told the local news. “What’s wrong with that?”
What’s wrong with that, indeed. The NBA has been remarkably obsequious in public to the Chinese government in the past week.
NBA Apologizes to China
When Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image with the words “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” he set off a firestorm. And the NBA has proved itself as an organization bent on appeasing the communist country.
Rather than stand by the American ideal of freedom around the world, the NBA apologized for Morey’s tweet referencing Hong Kong. And Morey was forced to beg forgiveness, as well.
The Chinese Basketball Association, headed by none other than former Rockets player Yao Ming, declared it was cutting ties with the Rockets. And the Chinese consulate said in a statement that the Rockets needed to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes.”
And the NBA and Morey tripped over each other to apologize to the Chinese.
The NBA said Monday that they “have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.”
While Morey took a more “I’m sorry if you were offended” approach, it rankles regardless.
2/ I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 7, 2019
Americans React to NBA Apology
Basketball is a major and beloved sport in China and therefore, the NBA has an interest in keeping the relationship smooth. However, Americans of all stripes are appalled at the NBA’s blatant kowtowing to the communist Chinese.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted, “It’s clear that the NBA is more interested in money than human rights. The NBA is kowtowing to Beijing to protect their bottom line and disavowing those with the temerity to #standwithHongKong. Shameful!”
And 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke said the NBA’s response to China was “an embarrassment.”
The NBA is known for its marketing prowess over the decades. However, this new stance smacks of going beyond a mutually beneficial sports relationship with China.
It’s a marked example of extreme political correctness at all costs. And it flies in the face of what America has stood for in the last century: Defending freedom and democracy throughout the world. And for their dismal response, including kicking out Americans who are standing with the oppressed, they deserve all the backlash they’re getting.