Pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong started burning LeBron James jerseys on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, after the NBA player criticized Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
James claims that there are “negatives” to the American tradition of free speech, citing Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong Kong protestors tweets, which has led many people to believe that these comments were made to try to placate the Chinese.
After all, the NBA makes over $500 million in the Chinese market.
According to ESPN reports, the protestors chanted in support of Morey and criticized James on Tuesday.
It’s no secret that China is seeking to flex in Hong Kong, which the British handed over to in 1997 and is slated to be fully incorporated in its political system by 2047.
Many Hong Kongers recognize this inevitable fact and have taken advantage of the introduction of an extradition bill earlier this year to protest Beijing’s heavy-handed rule.
When the Rockets GM tweeted in solidarity with the Hong Kong protestors, the NBA bowed down to China and had Morey delete his pro-freedom tweet.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers star chimed in and criticized Morey for sympathizing with those fighting for freedom and even scoffed at Morey’s free speech rights.
“Yes, we do have freedom of speech,” James declared. “But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others when you only think about yourself.”
“So many people could have been harmed,” James claimed, “not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”
However, supporters of the pro-freedom protestors slammed James’ comments.
“James was trying, you know, to take a side, on the China side, which is, like, ridiculous,” Aaron Lee told ESPN. “He was being honest financially. Financial is money. Simple as that. LeBron James stands for money. Period.”
This latest NBA drama with China should remind people of the toxic influence China is starting to have over American institutions.
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