Adam Silver: China Wanted Daryl Morey Fired

OCTOBER 18: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has said the Chinese government didn’t demand Morey’s firing, per an Associated Press report.

OCTOBER 17: Appearing on Thursday at the TIME 100 Health Summit (link via Sean Gregory of TIME), NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Robin Roberts that the Chinese government wanted Rockets general manager Daryl Morey fired in the wake of his tweet expressing support for protestors in Hong Kong. However, the league refused to entertain that idea.

“We made clear that we were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business,” Silver said. “We said there’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”

After Morey published and then deleted his tweet, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta issued a statement saying that the GM didn’t speak for the franchise and that the Rockets aren’t a “political organization.” However, that was about as far as the team or the league went in denouncing Morey. Silver later made a statement saying that the NBA supported Morey’s freedom of expression, a point he reiterated during his conversation with Roberts.

“These American values — we are an American business — travel with us wherever we go,” Silver said. “And one of those values is free expression. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood we were supporting free expression.”

Silver also said last week that he and the NBA understand that freedom of expression doesn’t mean freedom from consequences, and the league has been feeling the financial consequences of the China controversy.

At the TIME event on Thursday, the NBA commissioner said the league is not only “willing” to cope with lost revenues from China, but that it already is coping with those losses, which have been “substantial.”

“I don’t know where we go from here,” Silver said. “The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic.”

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14 thoughts on “Adam Silver: China Wanted Daryl Morey Fired

  1. What’s “lol”?
    It was not an Easy situation… Nba, without any support, made things really clear.
    “We love your money, but you are not out lord as you think”
    Not easy, not for sure.

  2. Rewane

    Morey probbally isn’t the hero many people on the internet believe he is. Him deleting the tweet and not following up with more words on his support for Hong Kong probably means he either didn’t think it through when he made the tweet (could have been drunk because it was a Friday night) or bends to pressure from the league, China , etc..
    Saying you support Hong Kong and try to make money in China it’s like saying you support 9/11 and wants to do business with a U.S. company. Obviously the events are very different in nature, but the thing in common is they are hated by the government and almost all people. It’s fairly simple to understand: don’t say bad things about a company you gonna do business with.
    I think Silver has done a very good job and didn’t understand how people said he was bowing to China, etc. As individuals, it’s fairly easy to voice your support for Hong Kong, but as a public figure for a non-political organization, Silver (and Morey) should try to stay as politically neutral as possible. There are hundreds of millions of NBA fans in China who would be put in a very tough spot if Silver is to say he supports Hong Kong, too.
    And being political almost always results in a net profit loss; a chunk of current customers would be pissed, and far fewer customers are attracted because of it.
    How much better is the rest of the league, who remained silent, better than LBJ, Westbrook, and Harden?

    • sleepyfloyd

      Do you even have a point? Morey has never been made a hero in this. All he did was speak on a basic human value that yes is an American value.

      At the root of this is the chinese love American things, brands, clothing, food. However with this at times comes American value in the messaging.

      Either way what morey did happened and now it’s time to deal with it as a league, not as players, coaches or GMs.

      • Rewane

        A lot of people on Twitter and other media been praising Morey for speaking out and supporting freedom, you haven’t seen those?
        It should be the Rockets instead of the league dealing with the problem. The managemebt just need to make a choice between aologizing or losing market in China.

  3. Buckman

    Don’t expect millionaires and billionaires to do anything to cost themselves $$. Morey made a mistake for unknown reasons. Everyone saw what happened to Kapernick and they don’t want to be Kapernick 2. Taking a public political stance is always risky. Moeey showed he isn’t all that committed by deleting the tweet quite quickly.

  4. madmanTX

    Tilman should have stood up for his GM. I wouldn’t be surprised if he lets Morey go down the road as part of some secret deal to appease the Chinese into being Rockets fans again. He seems the type to handle things this way.

  5. oldredgunslinger

    Chinese probably want to send Morey to one of their re indoctrination camps.

  6. toudi

    NBA just paid 1 billion dollars to teach the Chinese and the whole world what the freedom of speech is really about!
    If that’s not charitable, altruistic and admirable I don’t know what is :)
    I love NBA!

  7. jorge78

    Fired? LOL! They wanted him deported to China so he could serve his ten year sentence!

  8. Oct 17: BREAKING NEWS
    Oct 18: Just kidding; it’s all BS but we’ll keep the article up for that ad revenue.

    Keep it classy, PTR.

    • Luke Adams

      To be clear, I believe Silver here, which is why the headline hasn’t changed.

  9. steve

    I guess theyre losing a billion dollars or something? Large market i get it, but keep in mind these people make billions upon billions of dollars (league and teams). Ive known many a boss to stand up for their employee at the risk of finacial loss, simply depends on the the context and the boss. But “the customer is always right” mentality really has not been the norm in my my job experience. You shouldn’t be fired over a political take, because youd easily qualify for unemployment, so if the owners worried so much about money, why not worry about the responsibility of them properly terminating an employee on just reasons to avoid a claim being paid that would be a burden on the unemployment system, possibly leading to hirer taxes at some point to finance. You may scoff, but if a scrooge is worried over a secondary market for income then they should be worried about their lolly gagging causing a high claimaint to get approved and possibly causing (directly or indirectly) a rise on unemployment taxes that the employer has to pay the difference in for each and every employee they have.

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