By KEVIN DERBY
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is calling out the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the aftermath of a Tweet about China.
At the end of last week, Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, one of the most popular NBA teams in China thanks to the franchise drafting Yao Ming with the first pick of the 2002 draft, posted on Twitter, praising the protesters in Hong Kong who are opposed to the Chinese regime. Under fire from China, Morey deleted the Tweet.
While some have accused the NBA of pressuring Morey, speaking in Japan on Monday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver insisted that wasn’t the case.
“There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” Silver said according to the Japan Times. “There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have.”
“I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear … that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression,” Silver added.
That wasn’t enough for Scott who has increasingly taken aim at China in recent weeks. Scott called for a meeting with Silver on Monday.
“I am requesting a meeting with Commissioner Silver immediately to discuss the NBA’s involvement in Communist China,” Scott said. “I was the first U.S. senator to travel to Hong Kong since the protests began. What I saw was devastating. Men and women are risking their lives to fight for the same freedom we take advantage of in this country. As Americans, it is our duty to stand together against injustice, and that means standing up to Communist China and President Xi as he violates the rights guaranteed under the 1997 handover of Hong Kong.
“We must all put human rights above profit. And that means standing with Hong Kong. The NBA’s refusal to denounce Communist China for what it is – our adversary – is shameful. The NBA should stop playing games in Communist China, and I look forward to meeting with Commissioner Silver to discuss the importance of supporting the brave individuals fighting to free themselves from the grip of Communist China,” Scott said.