LeBron James responds to backlash after he made questionable comments about the controversy between the NBA and China.
On Monday night, James called Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey “misinformed” and “not educated” when he recently tweeted that he supported Hong Kong protesters’ fight against their authoritative government. For the past five months, millions of people have taken to the streets in protest of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill proposed by the Hong Kong government.
James first made the comments before the preseason tip-off with the Warriors, and later spoke up again after his team returned from a two-game exhibition with the Nets in China, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “When you’re misinformed, or you’re not educated about something, and I’m just talking about the tweet itself, you never know the ramifications that can happen,” said James, in his first statement.
LeBron comments on Daryl Morey’s China tweet: "I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke."
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 15, 2019
“Yes, we all do have freedom of speech. But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself. 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.” He continued, “So many people could have been harmed — not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. Just be careful about what we tweet, what we say, and what we do. Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.”
Almost immediately after, the baller then took to Twitter to clarify his statement, saying, “Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that,” the first tweet read. “My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it,” James wrote.
Morey’s posted the controversial tweet on Monday (Oct. 4), saying “Fight for Freedom. Stand for Hong Kong.” Afterwards, Hong Kong cut all business ties with the NBA team and eventually with the NBA completely. Morey apologized in hopes that it would mend the relationship, but it didn’t work. The government renounced the pro-democracy message.
LeBron James (@KingJames) responds to freedom of speech criticism in light of the NBA dispute with China. James says this is the last time he will speak on this issue.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) October 16, 2019
In the wake of his statements, James received an immense amount of backlash online, as people called his comments “ignorant” and tone-deaf on the issues of freedom of speech and human rights. And on Tuesday evening, the baller replied to critics, saying, “Obviously, it’s a tough situation we’re all in right now. Us as an Association, us as athletes, owners, GMs, so on and so forth,” LeBron said. “I think when an issue comes up if you feel passionate about it or you feel like there’s something you wanna talk about, then so be it. I also don’t think that every issue should be everybody’s problem as well. When things come up, there’s multiple things that we haven’t talked about that happen in our own country that we don’t bring up.”