By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 16: Days after a tweet from NBA team Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supporting anti-government protestors in Hong Kong brought about a feud between China and the NBA, well known LA Lakers basketball player Lebron James has now unleashed fresh debate on the same tweet after he said that Morey was “uneducated” on speaking on the subject and that such actions have “financial, physical and emotional” consequences.
Many twitterati have since censured James who is often regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time for his on-field brilliance as well as his advocacy for social justice and equality, as being insensitive to the sufferings of the people of Hong Kong and also undermining China’s poor human rights records.
The basketball star on Monday was seen responding to reporters when asked about the tweet by Morey, “I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.” James also said that such actions have “financial, physical and emotional consequences”.
A twitter user @BillDaly1123 questioned, “The consequences being, if an owner speaks out against human rights violations, it may impact the sale of LeBron sneakers or jerseys in China? Those consequences?” another tweeted, “Bow to your Chinese overlords”.
He later backtracked saying that he was not commenting on the substance of the tweet but its impact. James further said that he was not keeping track of the news in China and Hong Kong even though he had criticised Morey of doing the same, in the first place.
Last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stood up to China and defended Morey’s freedom of expression prompting Chinese state television to stop broadcast of the league’s pre games in China. The LA Lakers star’s views have also incited fans in Hong Kong to burn his jersey’s in condemnation.
A Tibetan resident of Dharamshala and an NFA follower, Tenzin Woeser told Phayul, “The statement by one of the best basketball players and one of the biggest sporting figure is a let down for me. As a Tibetan, China’s oppression has resulted in death and destruction our people and country. For him to criticise another person who was actually condemning China is a jump downwards. He missed that 3-pointer in my opinion.”