China’s threat to bar NBA exhibition games from TV heats up tensions with U.S.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Tensions between China and the National Basketball Association are heating up.

China says it will not air NBA exhibition games played in the country this week after the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted support
for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

Some advocates say the U.S. should pull all business with China, despite the millions of dollars that may be at stake.

Meanwhile, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is defending the Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey’s right to have posted the tweet, saying:

“We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.”

Riley Walters with the Heritage Foundation says the NBA is trying to play on both teams, because China generates millions of dollars in
revenue for the league each year.

“They are going to do what they think is best for their shareholders interests and for their bottom line at the end of the year,” says Walters.

But Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the money isn’t worth compromising American values.

Hooper says the NBA should cut all ties with China. Including pulling out of the exhibition games like the one scheduled to happen against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

“America is a free country, we have freedom of expression,” says Hooper. “And we are not going to stifle that freedom of expression to cozy up to a repressive regime.”

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