CNBC: NBA should not be an ‘arm of Chinese censorship’ by bowing to pressure, says GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

News|10.9.19

Sen. Ted Cruz told CNBC on Wednesday that the National Basketball Association should not bow to pressure from China, following the fallout over a tweet by the general manager of the Houston Rockets supporting the Hong Kong protests.

The condemnation in China over Daryl Morey’s now-deleted tweet on Friday was swift, as Chinese partners with the NBA cut or suspended ties with the league.

Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said on “Squawk Box” that he can see why the NBA wants to quell the fervor in China, which is said to have 600 million fans of the league. That’s nearly double the entire population of the United States.

“We’ve seen the NBA falling all over itself to back track, and everyone understands why. There’s big money in China. The NBA and NBA teams make a whole lot money; broadcasting in China, having [online] subscriptions in China, having fans there,” he said. “But that being said, this really shows how China tries to use economic coercion and blackmail to get American companies to engage in censorship.”

Speaking with CNBC from Taiwan on a stop on an Indo-Pacific trip, Cruz said the NBA should not be an “arm of Chinese censorship” by being too apologetic “because that exports their repressive policies and regime to the United States and globally.”

The senator criticized the league for initial “abject apologies” after the Morey tweet. “The NBA should be better than that. We should not be willing instrumentalities of Chinese censorship.”

Cruz on Sunday, along with many U.S. senators on both sides of the political aisle, expressed solidarity with Morey, tweeting, “As a lifelong @HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment” of protesters in Hong Kong.

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