The Chinese government is denying NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s claim that they asked him to have Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey fired after Morey tweeted in support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the Associated Press reports.
The “Chinese government never posed this requirement,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the AP.
During a press conference on Thursday, Silver said that the league had been “asked to fire (Morey) by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business.”
Silver added: “There’s no chance that’s happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”
The commissioner faced heavy criticism — from fans and lawmakers alike — for his initial response to Morey’s tweet in which he called the tweet “regrettable,” but has since doubled down on his support of Morey and his right to free speech.
The NBA suffered major fallout after Morey’s tweet as several Chinese companies including the Chinese Basketball Association and state-run CCTV decided to cut ties with the league.
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