The National Basketball Association should not be an “arm of Chinese censorship” by giving in too quickly to pressure because of a general manager’s tweet in support of Hong Kong’s protests, Sen. Ted Cruz, calling in from Taiwan, said Wednesday.
“We’ve seen the NBA falling all over itself to backtrack, and everyone understands why,” the Texas Republican told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“There’s big money in China. The NBA and NBA teams make a whole lot of money; broadcasting in China, having [online] subscriptions in China, having fans there. But that being said, this really shows how China tries to use economic coercion and blackmail to get American companies to engage in censorship.”
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s since-deleted tweet read, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” in reference to the violent protests being waged against China. Almost all of the Chinese partners with the NBA have cut or suspended ties with the league.
Cruz slammed the NBA for its “abject apologies” after Morey’s tweet, saying the “NBA should be better than that. We should not be willing instrumentalities of Chinese censorship.”