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NBA Commissioner Defends Freedom of Speech as Chinese Companies Cut Ties

Sopan Deb, reporting for The New York Times:

In its statement, the broadcaster, China Central Television, chided Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, for expressing support for the free speech rights of Daryl Morey. Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager, posted a supportive message about protests in Hong Kong on Friday night that drew an angry response from Chinese officials and set off debate about how corporations should balance their public images with their eagerness to do business in China.

“We voice our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Adam Silver offering as an excuse the right to freedom of expression,” CCTV said in its statement announcing the cancellation of the N.B.A. broadcasts. “We believe that no comments challenging national sovereignty and social stability fall within the scope of freedom of expression.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s response was heartening:

Silver issued a new written statement on Tuesday morning which said in part: “It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the N.B.A. to adjudicate those differences.”

It continued, “However, the N.B.A. will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.”

Silver was more blunt during his news conference: “We will protect our employees’ freedom of speech.”

More of this, please.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019