Shanghai Sports Federation cancels NBA fans' night over NBA comments

Cancellation comes on heels of canceled NBA Cares event for Shanghai educational center

(Shanghai Sports Federation Weibo photo)

(Shanghai Sports Federation Weibo photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Shanghai Sports Federation (上海市體育總會) announced on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 9) the cancelation of an NBA event for fans scheduled for that night, citing the "improper remarks" by Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey and the "improper claim" by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as reasons for doing so, reported CNA.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets were scheduled to play Thursday in Shanghai and Saturday in Shenzhen. However, China’s state-run CCTV has canceled plans to air the games.

After the NBA had confirmed Wednesday morning that the fans' event in Shanghai would proceed according to plan, the Shanghai Sports Federation abruptly canceled the event that afternoon. The cancelation came after an NBA Cares event featuring the Brooklyn Nets and planned for a Shanghai educational center was canceled on Tuesday. Both events were apparently canceled due to the outrage in China over the two NBA officials' remarks.

The controversy started on Sunday when Morey tweeted a now-deleted image that read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” in reference to the months-long pro-democracy demonstrations in the semi-autonomous territory that have been mired in escalating violence between protesters and law enforcement, AP reported.

Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo before Tuesday's preseason game between the Rockets and NBA champions the Toronto Raptors, Adam Silver went as far as to say that he and the league were “apologetic” that so many Chinese officials and fans had been upset by Morey’s tweet, but he insisted that Morey has the right to freedom of expression, the report said.

“Daryl Morey, as general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees,” Silver was cited by AP as saying. “What I also tried to suggest is that I understand there are consequences from his freedom of speech and we will have to live with those consequences.”