LeBron James has criticized Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for supporting the protestors in Hong Kong while warning about the “negative” side-effects of free speech.
On October 4th, Morey tweeted a message of support of Hong Kong’s protestors, saying: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”
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That message caused a firestorm of controversy as China abruptly canceled minor league exhibition games and canceled numerous business deals with the Rockets, and the NBA.
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On Monday, Lakers forward LeBron James publicly slammed Morey over the remarks, calling him “uneducated” and warning that his words could have caused people to be physically “harmed.”
Breitbart.com reports: The NBA received tremendous bipartisan criticism for their initial response to Morey’s tweet, when they responded by calling the post “regrettable” for the offense that it caused. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver eventually tried to quell the backlash by championing Morey’s free speech rights.
Now, with the league representatives and players back from their tumultuous trip to China, it seemed like the news cycle of the NBA-China rift had died down. However, with James denouncing free speech in even stronger terms than the NBA did while calling a pro-democracy tweet “uneducated,” it’s difficult to see the crisis going away.
It’s also difficult to see why James would so willingly and unnecessarily reignite the controversy.
Then again, perhaps it makes sense after all. James is still the best and most popular player in the league. Moreover, for nearly ten years he’s championed numerous social justice causes and launched numerous attacks against President Trump, all to the delight of the sports media.
Maybe he’s become so used to being applauded for speaking his mind, that he no longer recognizes when he shouldn’t?