Chinese state television has announced it will no longer air any of the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s pre-season games set to be played in the country.
In a statement released on Tuesday, CCTV indicated that the decision was prompted by NBA Commissioner Alan Silver’s remarks in Japan following a tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey last week that supported anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong.
The broadcaster is also reviewing all its cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA, said the statement, posted to CCTV Sports’ official social media account.
“We’re strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver’s claim to support Morley’s right to freedom of expression,” CCTV said. “We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.”
Silver told reporters in Tokyo that the league was not willing to compromise and backed members’ rights to express their opinions.
He said he would discuss the situation with officials from Chinese partners in Shanghai later this week, adding that he hopes Chinese fans would understand the league’s position.
Prior to the news conference on Tuesday, Silver released a statement saying the league “will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues”.