Shaq Backs Daryl Morey On China Scandal: ‘One Of Our Best Values Is Free Speech’

CBS Local Sports 3 weeks ago
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal Tuesday night weighed in on the controversy surrounding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, weeks after the NBA executive expressed support for pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong, setting off a political firestorm.

Speaking on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” outside Staples Center ahead of the Lakers hometown season-opening clash with the Clippers, Shaq said Morey had every right send out his tweet.

Hong Kong supporters protest outside Staples Center ahead of the Lakers vs Clippers NBA season opener in Los Angeles on Oct. 22, 2019. (Getty Images)

“One of our best values here in America is free speech,” Shaq said. “We’re allowed to say what we want to say, and we’re allowed to speak up about injustices, and that’s just how it goes. And if people don’t understand that, that’s something that they have to deal with.”

On Oct. 4, Morey sent out a tweet expressing support for anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong. His tweet came while several NBA teams, including the Lakers, were in China to play preseason games.

As a result of the tweet, several Chinese companies suspended their ties with the NBA and Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said it would not broadcast any of the preseason games in China.

The Chinese government also barred players, along with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, from speaking to the media while they were in China. When the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets took the floor for a preseason game in Shanghai on Oct. 10, neither the U.S. nor the Chinese national anthems were played.

The NBA, which has hundreds of millions of Chinese fans watching its games every season, is likely to experience major financial ramifications from the fallout.

There were several pro-Hong Kong protesters outside Staples prior to Tuesday’s game. A GoFundMe effort to raise money to hand out thousands of “Stand with Hong Kong” t-shirts Tuesday outside Staples raised nearly $43,000 in just two days.

“Daryl Morey was right, whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, ‘that’s not right,’” Shaq went on. “And that’s what he did. But again, you know, when it comes to business, you have to tiptoe around things.”

However, Shaq’s cohost, Charles Barkley, was critical of Morey’s actions, specifically citing the Rockets’ relationship with their former center Yao Ming, who is currently the president of the Chinese Basketball Association.

“The Houston Rockets and their affiliation with Yao Ming, they’re the most popular team in China,” Barkley said. “So that was the first thing he (Morey) should have thought about: ‘I’m not just speaking for myself, I’m speaking for the entire Rockets organization.’ And like I say, because of Yao Ming, the Rockets are by far and away the most popular team in China. You can’t come to my country, make money and insult me.”

Barkley also came to superstar LeBron James’ defense. After returning from China, LeBron told reporters last week that Morey was both “not educated” and “misinformed” when he sent out the tweet.

“I hear all these idiots and fools and jackasses on television and radio talking bad about LeBron, ‘he sold out for the money,’” Barkley said. “First of all, there’s nothing wrong with him protecting his money…Secondly, he was protecting the NBA’s money, and he was protecting Nike’s money. Why is that such a bad thing? LeBron had nothing to do with this tweet…Why should he sacrifice?”

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Forbes › Finance › 3 weeks ago
Basketball Hall of Famer Shaq backed Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in the NBA-China controversy on the opening night of the new basketball season.
Business Insider › Sports › 0 month ago
Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal supported Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for his tweet expressing support for protesters in Hong Kong that subsequently incited a controversy between the NBA and China. The NBA legend's comments came during a...
New York Post › Sports › 0 month ago
Shaquille O’Neal defended free speech on opening night of the NBA season Tuesday — proclaiming that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey “was right” to openly support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, despite the firestorm it ignited in China...
Business Insider › Sports › 1 month ago
On Monday, LeBron James responded to the NBA's controversy in China stemming from Daryl Morey's pro-Hong Kong tweet by saying he didn't think Morey was "educated on the situation." James said there were ramifications to free speech and that people...
CNBC › Sports › 3 weeks ago
"We as American people, we do a lot of business in China, and they know and understand our values, and we understand their values. And one of our best values here in America is free speech," O'Neal said.
The Daily Beast › Entertainment › 0 month ago
TNTDuring TNT’s pre-game show on opening night of the NBA season Tuesday, Shaquille O’Neal strongly defended Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who caused an international firestorm earlier this month by tweeting a pro-Democracy message...
New York Post › Sports › 1 month ago
LeBron James fanned the NBA’s China controversy on Monday, saying Rockets GM Daryl Morey “wasn’t educated” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey...
Fox News › 0 month ago
Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal rushed to the defense of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Tuesday amid the ongoing feud between the NBA and China, saying the GM was "right" to support Hong Kong.
Washington Examiner › 0 month ago
Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal voiced support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who threw NBA-Chinese relations into turmoil by tweeting support for anti-China protesters in Hong Kong.
New York Daily News › 0 month ago
Shaq boxes out LeBron over China; says Houston Rockets GM Morey ‘was right’ to back Hong Kong protesters
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