Rockets: U.S. Senator probes NBA’s handling of Morey’s China fiasco

Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Daryl Morey (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A Tennessee senator probed NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s handling of Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong fiasco.

Although Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is known for making headlines for basketball reasons, Morey and the Rockets were involved in the biggest sports scandal of the past year, for something that had very little to do with the sport. Prior to the official start of the 2019-20 season, Morey found himself amid a global firestorm, as he became the face behind the now infamous tweet regarding Hong Kong and China.

Many believe NBA commissioner Adam Silver failed to support Morey during the tumultuous time, as Morey faced scrutiny from all angles while being left to deal with it on his own. There were also those that were calling for Morey to lose his job, as the league lost significant profit from one of it’s largest revenue streams in the Chinese market.

Silver’s handling of the fiasco raised eyebrows from Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn, who sent the NBA commissioner a letter expressing concern about the NBA’s relationship with China, which the Houston Rockets general manager’s situation helped shed light into. The letter was obtained by Sports Illustrated and states the following.

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Your league’s business interests are closely intertwined with Communist China’s estimated $4 billion NBA market. While the NBA has worked hard to raise awareness of social issues at home, there is concern that the league has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses committed abroad—even bowing down to pressure last year. The actions of the NBA and some players have created an appearance that your league prioritizes profit over principle. This accusation may be inaccurate; however, I urge you to give it careful thought.

Blackburn closed out the letter with the three most pressing questions she had, while also giving Silver and the league office a deadline of July 21st to answer them. The Republican senator’s questions are outlined below:

1. What are the anticipated financial consequences of China Central Television’s (CCTV) continued ban on the airing of NBA games?

2. Please outline the scope of the NBA’s relationship with Chinese state-owned enterprise Alibaba.

3. The NBA reportedly continues to operate a training center Xinjiang, one of the world’s worst humanitarian zones. What steps is the NBA taking to shutter this location?

It’ll be interesting to see if Blackburn gets her questions answered by Silver, as we’ve not heard much from him of late. Silver already has his hands full with the league’s attempted Orlando bubble restart, and Blackburn’s inquiry could very well fall to the bottom of Silver’s priorities.

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One thing is for certain, however, which is that the Houston Rockets GM has surely put this situation past him. In addition, he showed a resiliency like none other in powering through the adversity without allowing it to affect his job.