SIXERS OFFICIALS EJECT NBA FANS FROM GAME FOR HOLDING FREE HONG KONG SIGNS
So much for freedom of speech. In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a sudden, major and seemingly absolute schism between the NBA and all their partners in China. So what happened? Well, the Houston Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, sent out a tweet in support of the protestors in Hong Kong. But unfortunately, that landed like a nuclear stink bomb over in China. So to say this this is making waves would be like calling a tsunami nothing to worry about. It’s big, and it’s getting bigger every moment that passes. That continues to be true with the news that officials at the preseason match-up game between the Sixers and the Guangzhou Loong Lions ejected fans holding a Free Honk Kong sign.
FANS WEREN’T SHOUTING OR BEING DISRUPTIVE, BUT WITH THE CURRENT DRAMA STILL EJECTED
So first, yes, this was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the United States. The two basketball goers were Sam Wachs and his wife. They decided to voice their support for protestors in Hong Kong with signs at the game at Wells Fargo Center, only to find themselves out on the street. Wachs, as you can imagine, is not happy at all. He said, “There’s no foul language, no politics. I think it’s shameful, harsh reaction.” Hmmm. Well, I’m not sure about no politics. Pretty much everything about China is about politics. But when it comes to Hong Kong, it’s politics on Bane level steroids.
NBA OPENS INEVITABLE CAN OF WORMS THAT WILL IMPACT ALL WESTERN BIZ RELATIONSHIPS WITH CHINA
Officials confiscated the couple’s signs and ejected them from the arena. But at least we can say they didn’t suffer arrest, as well. This marks the intensely uncomfortable reality that the NBA and America finds itself in with countless relationships with China. The NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, is trying to straddle a fence topped with razor blades. He said, “I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear … that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.” Well, good. And good luck with that. But fans ejected from attending a Sixers basketball game in the United States with a peaceful protest message will only make things hotter here at home.
So as it is now, China will not air any of its scheduled NBA preseason games on local television. It seems like the NBA is in danger of completely losing the footprint it managed to make in China in recent years. China’s state television CCTV has said it expects to “immediately investigate all co-operation and exchanges involving the NBA.”