WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- While the NBA has taken measures to minimize the damage brought on by Houston Rockets’ general manager tweet about China, the situation got stickier when 2 Rockets players were stopped from answering a reporter’s question.
- On Thursday, CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane asked James Harden and Russell Westbrook about whether they would be reluctant to speak about issues moving forward.
- Both players were about to answer when a team spokesperson intruded and told the reporter to ask questions about basketball only.
As part of the current controversy between the NBA and China caused by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet, the league has taken steps to run damage control, being aware that China is a great source of income.
The situation first got awkward when Morey tried to dissociate the Rockets from his tweet. This was followed by James Harden’s apology for Morey’s tweet, and Adam Silver attempting to make both sides happy by saying Morey has a right to express his views but at the same saying the NBA shouldn’t judge various opinions.
On Thursday, the situation got even more uncomfortable when the Rockets would not allow Harden and Russell Westbrook to answer a question from CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane on whether they would feel hesitant about speaking out after the events of the past week. Just as the players were about to answer, a Rockets PR interrupted and informed Macfarlane to ask “basketball questions only.”
Macfarlane responded saying, “It’s a legitimate question.” She went on to wait for Harden’s reply but went unanswered.
In a statement from the NBA regarding the matter, it said that the actions of the team representative who rudely interrupted were “inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events.”
Macfarlane’s question was legitimate and harmless. The question was about whether players would feel differently about speaking on issues moving forward, and not comments about the China fallout. While the NBA is known as a progressive league where anyone can speak their minds on various issues, the Rockets just gave their ultimate answer by not permitting the players to speak.