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Volume 26 No. 139
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Silver Takes Issue With Criticism Of NBA's Values In Response To China

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in receiving criticism for his initial response following the controversy over Rockets GM Daryl Morey's pro-Hong Kong tweet, "took issue with the idea that the NBA had abandoned its principles," according to Jason Gay of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Silver said that the league "never apologized for Morey's tweet" and it had "stood behind his right to expression." Silver: "I've never hidden from the fact that we are also a business, and that many of the situations we've dealt with are highly complex. I've tried to avoid playing politics and adhere to our values. I felt in this case that one of our core values, freedom of expression, was adhered to." He added, "But I would also say that one (value) that seems to be used against me is this notion of respect. That's always been one of our core values. To show respect for the people of China -- to me, that was then twisted and turned into an apology." Gay writes there is "unlikely to be any resolution with China that won't provoke some sort of blowback." Silver said, "It's unavoidable for businesses of any kind in this day and age. It's virtually impossible to stay on the sidelines" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/23).

IN DEFENSE OF MOREY: The crew from TNT's NBA pregame show last night weighed in on the China dispute, with Shaquille O'Neal saying Morey "was right" in sending out his tweet in support of Hong Kong. O'Neal said, "We as American people, we do a lot of business in China, and they know and understand our values and we understand their values. And one of our best values here in America is free speech. We're allowed to say what we want to say and we're allowed to speak up about injustices." He added, "Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say 'that's not right' and that's what (Morey) did." TNT's Kenny Smith said "if we don't allow" Morey to express his opinion, it is the same as "saying, 'LeBron, shut up and dribble.'" However, TNT's Charles Barkley said the Rockets "are the most popular team in China so that is the first thing he should have thought about, 'I'm not just speaking for myself, I'm speaking for the entire Rockets organization.'" Barkley said China is saying, "'You can't come to my country and make money and insult me.' We don't get to impress our values on other countries." Meanwhile, Barkley also said "what happened to LeBron was unfair because he was caught in the middle." Barkley: "Why is up to Adam Silver and LeBron James to ruin their financial situation when all these other companies are allowed to make money in China?" ("NBA Tip-Off," TNT, 10/22).