The government-controlled Chinese television network, which holds all broadcasting rights for the National Basketball Association, did not air the first games of the league's season on Wednesday after weeks of controversy over support of Hong Kong.
Owner of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, kicked off a firestorm between China and the NBA by tweeting support of the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"Fight for Freedom. Stand for Hong Kong," Morey tweeted on Oct. 7, which caused the Chinese government to immediately threaten broadcast and sponsorship deals with the NBA.
Morey deleted the tweet and apologized a short time later, along with a statement of apology from the NBA. Despite the apologies, however, league commissioner Adam Silver claimed that China had asked him to fire Morey. China claims the original tweet was deeply offensive and did not consider the views of the Chinese people, who are huge supporters of the NBA.
Broadcasts in China have indicated the divide between the Chinese Communist Party and the NBA might not be reparable, and China Central Television has declined to air any NBA games so far. CCTV has not made an official announcement that they will not be showing any NBA games this season, but no games currently appear on the schedule.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong officials withdrew the controversial extradition bill that sparked weeks of violent protests between activists and police.