- Title: Chinese basketball fans "disappointed" by Rockets manager's HK protest tweet
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (OCTOBER 7, 2019) (REUTERS) PEOPLE PLAYING BASKETBALL BALL GOING INTO BASKET VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PLAYING BASKETBALL YOUNG MAN LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) ENTREPRENEUR IN THE HEALTH PRODUCT SECTOR AND HOUSTON ROCKETS FAN, 31, ZHANG CHENGHUI, SAYING: "Even though he later apologised and said this was only his own personal opinion, he forgot he is a public figure. He didn't consider the factors that could be involved in this. So I think, as a Rockets fan I am very disappointed. Also as a Chinese citizen I feel very disappointed by his comments." VARIOUS OF YOUNG MAN BOUNCING BASKETBALL PEOPLE SITTING BESIDE BASKETBALL COURT WATCHING OTHERS PLAY VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PLAYING BASKETBALL (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, 15, YU MINGSHAN, SAYING "I think, in fact, I was really upset about him writing those comments. How can I put this? Because, first of all it involved (China's) national sovereignty. This is very sensitive. Secondly, he saying this will also make (Chinese basketball) fans sad because there has already been a response (domestically). We can no longer watch Rockets matches (on TV) and some business has been, been banned. So I think lots of Rockets fans will be very sad. But of course this matter involves state level issues so we can't allow this (to go unpunished)." VARIOUS OF BALL LANDING IN BASKET (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, 17, ZHANG JINRU, SAYING: "If the NBA doesn't do anything about this matter, about (Houston Rockets GM Daryl) Morey supporting Hong Kong independence, then should we think about how does the NBA view the Chinese market and Chinese fans? Because the Chinese market and Chinese fans now bring in massive income for the NBA. Every year we broadcast lots of NBA matches. The NBA has a large number of people in China. Every year there are lots of players who come to China for all kinds of commercial activities." EXTERIOR OF LI NING STORE LI NING LOGO AND WRITING (CHINESE), SAYING: "OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED GROUP PURCHASE STORE" LI NING BASKETBALLS ON DISPLAY INSIDE STORE PERSON WALKING OUT OF LI NING STORE LI NING TROUSERS ON DISPLAY IN SHOP FRONT LI NING TRAINERS ON DISPLAY INSIDE STORE LI NING STORE LI NING LOGO, PEOPLE STANDING AT COUNTER EXTERIOR OF SHANGHAI PUDONG DEVELOPMENT (SPD) BANK BRANCH VARIOUS OF SPD LOGO OUTSIDE AN ATM POINT
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 13:07
- Keywords: NBA Rockets Houston Rockets Hong Kong China Daryl Morey Li-Ning Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
- Location: BEIJING, CHINA
- City: BEIJING, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Basketball,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001B03J2VB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Chinese basketball fans in Beijing said on Monday (October 7) they were "disappointed" and saddened by a recent tweet from NBA Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey voicing support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
The initial post was later deleted and 47-year-old Morey, the NBA's executive of the year in 2018, said his views did not represent the team or league in an apology to "Rockets fans and friends" in China earlier on Monday. But outside the Dongdan public basketball court in central Beijing several fans told Reuters they were not convinced.
"Even though he later apologised and said this was only his own personal opinion, he forgot he is a public figure," said 31-year-old Rockets fan Zhang Chenghui. "He didn't consider the factors that could be involved in this," Zhang added.
Morey's initial tweet prompted sportswear brand Li-Ning and sponsor Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD Bank) Credit Card Centre to suspend work with the Rockets, while the team's games were dropped by China's state broadcaster's sports channel, CCTV5.
The furore is the latest example of an overseas brand caught in controversy over the protests, which have plunged Hong Kong into its worst political crisis in decades and pose a major challenge to Beijing. Many Western fashion brands, including Spain's Zara, have been forced to clarify positions on Chinese sovereignty as the Hong Kong protests fuel nationalist fervour and Chinese internet users in August blacklisted bubble tea brands from Taiwan after a Hong Kong franchise urged solidarity with protesters.
Some Chinese fans have called for a boycott of the Rockets. At the Dongdan court on Monday afternoon Reuters did not witness any Rockets vests being worn and when asked if he'll continue to stick with his favourite team Zhang Chenghui said;
"It's something I'll have to think carefully about."
(Production: Martin Pollard, Joseph Campbell)
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