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Report: Daryl Morey tweeted about Hong Kong when he did because of face-mask ban

Anti-Government Protests Continue in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, CHINA - OCTOBER 15: Hundreds of basketball fans gather in Wan Chai Southorn Playground to show support of the Houston Rockets general manager, Daryl Morey and league’s commissioner, Adam Silver on October 15, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong stretched into its fifth month after the Chinese territory’s government invoked emergency powers earlier this month to introduce an anti-mask law. Protesters continue to call for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to meet their remaining demands since the controversial extradition bill was withdrawn, which includes an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the word “riot” to describe the rallies, and genuine universal suffrage as the territory faces a leadership crisis. (Photo by Lampson Yip - Clicks Images/Getty Images)

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The most charitable interpretation of LeBron James’ comments about Daryl Morey: LeBron feared for the safety of the Lakers and Nets, who were playing in China in the aftermath of Morey tweeting support for Hong Kong protesters.

That’d require explaining why LeBron brought up people being harmed “financially,” but perhaps he misspoke. There’s room to give LeBron benefit of the doubt.

The line that most supports that reading of LeBron’s comments: “Could have waited a week to send it.” That indicates LeBron isn’t denouncing Morey’s message, only the timing – when NBA personnel would be on the ground in China.

Sam Amick of The Athletic:

sources say there was a specific spark that led to the tweet from Morey, who has spoken out in support of civil liberty issues several times before on Twitter: The new law enacted by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, that bans face masks during protests and is widely seen as a tactic to identify dissidents.

The face-mask ban was both newly implemented and significant. It sparked widespread response, not just from Morey.

There’s rarely a perfect time to take a political stand. Morey could have waited a week, as LeBron suggested. But the NBA’s business interests in China would’ve still existed a week later. There’d always be some complicating factor.