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Sixers Fans Ejected From Exhibition Game in Philadelphia After Supporting Hong Kong

Avi Wolfman-Arent, reporting for WHYY:

Seeking to bring attention to the issue, Wachs and a companion purchased seats behind the bench of the Chinese team and wore face masks — which have been banned at ongoing protests in Hong Kong. They held up a pair of signs. One read, “Free Hong Kong” and the other, “Free HK.”

“We sat in our seats silently and just held up the signs,” he said. About five minutes into the game, Wachs said, security confiscated the “Free Hong Kong” sign and asked what the second sign meant.

“And I said HK stood for [former Phillies announcer] Harry Kalas,” Wachs said.

“He said, ‘Isn’t Harry Kalas dead?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, free Harry Kalas.’ And he said, ‘Why would you free Harry Kalas?’ And I said, ‘Hey, I just wanna free Harry Kalas.’ And he said, ‘OK.’”

About ten minutes later, Wachs recalled, security returned to take the “Free HK” poster.

This would be funny if it weren’t so utterly symbolic of the NBA’s capitulation to China. In the very city where the First Amendment was drafted and ratified — fans got ejected from a basketball game for the message “Free Hong Kong”, rooting for a team named for the year America declared its own freedom.

It’d be a real shame if NBA fans around the country — especially here in Philadelphia — brought more “Free Hong Kong” signs to NBA games.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019