Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Fans removed due to disruption, not Hong Kong support, 76ers say

Fans removed due to disruption, not Hong Kong support, 76ers say

But the Chinese social media giant behind the ubiquitous app WeChat may now become a corporate casualty of the deepening row sparked by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who expressed support for Hong Kong protests in a tweet over the weekend.

The problem is that China believes "speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability" is a threat, but the NBA, as a USA -based organization, supports and values free speech and expression. This has extended to the very top of the league: in 2014, an National Basketball Association owner was banned for life after recordings of him making racist comments were made public.

"We're strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver's claim to support Morey's right to freedom of expression", CCTV said in a statement. He subsequently deleted his "stand with Hong Kong" tweet. Kerr called the situation "bizarre" and admitted he didn't know enough about the situation to comment on it, something that went over the head of FOX Sports Radio host Clay Travis, who called Kerr a "coward" for declining to have a say on the matter.

Popular NBA figures have had a very hard time responding to questions about the league's relationship with China, amid the large-scale protests in Hong Kong, and other controversies centered on the country.

All advertising related to the game had been removed by Thursday. In retaliation for his tweet, all of the NBA's official partners in China have halted business with the league, Houston Rockets' goods have disappeared in China and several NBA Cares events in Shanghai were cancelled.

The NBA has tried to do damage control but instead has only caused more outrage by appearing to abandon western values to placate China.

The Rockets are now flying back from Tokyo to Houston after being outside of the continental United States for the last 10 days.

Wachs told NBC10 in Philadelphia that security guards confiscated the signs before ejecting the couple in the second quarter after Wachs shouted, "Free Hong Kong!" Before either star guard could answer, a team spokesperson shut down the question, stating that the two players would only be discussing basketball.

While a Wizards' spokesperson confirmed that signs were confiscated, they said that "no fans were asked to leave the game".

Chinese authorities generally do not officially comment on the myriad acts of censorship carried out on the Internet and in other forms every day.

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