Nike Cuts Ties With Houston Rockets After Manger Expresses Support For Hong Kong

Nike stores in China removed Houston Rockets' merchandise in the wake of a controversial pro-Hong Kong tweet.

Beijing, China – National Basketball League (NBA) merchandise was taken out of stores and all of the league’s official Chinese partners suspended ties to the organization after the Houston Rocket’s general manager tweeted support for protesters in Hong Kong.

“Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong,” Daryl Morey tweeted on Oct. 4. The tweet has since been deleted, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Morey’s tweet referred to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong that have to do with an amendment that would allow extradition of suspects to mainland China.

The Rocket’s general manager later apologized for his tweet, but NBA Commissioner Adam Silver angered Chinese authorities when he said the league supported Morey’s right to freedom of expression, according to Reuters.

The timing of the controversy, just as the NBA began a special international promotion with preseason exhibition games livestreamed from China, caused chaos for sponsors.

Tencent, the Chinese company that has the exclusive rights to stream the NBA in China, initially said it would not show the games, CNN reported.

The NBA still held an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets in China on Thursday, according to Reuters.

However, all of the promotional events leading up to the game were all cancelled.

On Monday, Tencent quietly resumed the online NBA broadcasts, CNN reported.

Managers at five Nike stores in Beijing and Shanghai told Reuters that management sent them a memo stating all Rockets merchandise had to be taken down.

Numerous stores in Shenzhen and Chengdu also removed all Rockets merchandise from their displays and shelves, but thus far, other NBA teams were still on display.

“Other stuff, there hasn’t been any impact, and no one has said we need to withdraw it,” a store manager told Reuters. “If they say that all NBA stuff has to be withdrawn then our store will go bankrupt.”

Rockets products had even been removed from the NBA Playzone entertainment centers in Shanghai and Beijing.

The NBA is wildly popular in China, and the league’s business with that country is estimated to be more than $4 billion annually, CNN reported.

China is also Nike’s top source of revenue growth, according to Reuters.

Before now, the NBA had avoided choosing sides between Hong Kong and China.

Now the league is struggling to maintain its lucrative business ties with China, the Sacramento Bee reported.

President Donald Trump took some shots at Golden State Warriors’ Coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich on Twitter for their lack of response to the NBA’s situation with China.

Both Kerr and Popovich have been frequent critics of President Trump.

President Trump also called out Popovich for “pandering” to China.

“I watched this guy Steve Kerr. He was like a little boy who was so scared to be answering the question,” the President told reporters, according to USA Today.

“He couldn’t answer the question,” President Trump said. “He was shaking like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ He didn’t know how to answer the question. Yet, he’ll talk about the United States very badly. I watched Popovich do sort of the same thing. But he didn’t look quite as scared, actually.”

Comments (39)
No. 1-19
Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Boycott Nike. It's no wonder they encourage kneeling for the National Anthem...

tfort
tfort

The entire world has turned into soft whiners.

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

On the surface, this article has nothing to do with the police. Yet NIKE is the global organization pushing the envelope on anti-American sentiment, in the US. They support disrespecting our flag and by extension, support Antifa and Black Lives Matter. The hilarious thing about this whole situation, is they REALLY only support the almighty dollar. While supporting the revolutionaries here, they completely denounce revolutionaries in China (yes, Hong Kong is now part of China). It all boils down to who buys their product. Underneath it all, they are supporting those who are most at odds with our police and are causing the most trouble in this country for them. Like the song says... "It's a mixed up, jumbled up, shook up world,".

Vodkabreakfast
Vodkabreakfast

“Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” Napoleon saw it 200 years ago. That fast buck the west made is starting to look like loose change lost down the drain.

Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

Nike has lots of sweat shops in China, young kids working long hours for a few bucks a day making cheap shoes. Of course they will back the communists. I wish they'd move their headquarters to China, so at least they wouldn't be called an American company.

Raymelson
Raymelson

This is why I don't watch any sports or buy anything there in evolved in

Sargejh
Sargejh

Hey Nike. Suck it! That is all.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

How dare an american support freedom!!!

If you think NIKE cares about politics, you are clearly mistaken: they know Basketball is big $$$$ in China, so they are more than willing to alienate Houston fans, and pander to their Chinese customers. They did the same thing alienating their LEO fans when they selected the unemployed football player as their spokesman, because they knew they would get more $$$$ from his ignorant supporters.

It's all about where they can make the most money

NH.Corr
NH.Corr

Really? So we are to support the Chinese beat and killing people in Hong Kong? As long as you sell shoes? You asshole!!! Never again first you support Kap now this? #NeverNike

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

We stopped watching and supporting ALL sports in our household over 3 years ago!! And when Nike made Kaperdick their spokesperson, we no longer buy any Nike products either!! Sick of these over paid entitled liberal athletes!

Nighthawk644
Nighthawk644

Heres an idea....how about we start to PUSH BACK on NIKE.. I'm sure Adidas or Under Armour would be glad to be "the shoe" of the NBA. Nike can suck it!

61mouse
61mouse

Lmao .....as Nike has sweat shops all over China . And they have LAFLOPPER Promoting Nike

CivilianMark
CivilianMark

Stupid company officials need to get out of politics. Gillette sales went down after trading male customers for F2M trannies. Bad math calculation on that one. Bad math by the Rockets too.

PhoHukYu
PhoHukYu

Every one of you people in here buys Chinese crap. Go ahead and boycott Nike, but you better keep your asses out of WalMart too.

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

So Nike, Black Lives Matter (or at least the handful of unarmed black men killed by cops matter but the thousands killed by black men don’t) AND neither do those kids in Hong Kong as long as Nike makes their billions in China?

I’m not watching the NBA or NFL again and life is better without their juvenile drama. I’m tired of it.

Nike is weak and I’ll never buy their products nor Gillette’s and I don’t think the China/Hong Kong issue is my concern anyway.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Piggybacking off of @PhoHukYu , if you're boycotting Nike for dealing with China, i hope you haven't been shopping at Walmart the past 5 years.

Janken
Janken

I havnt bought anything from Nike. I just hate Kaepernick so bad and if these balless players Who have whined about there ancestors 200 years ago as slaves and dont understand what Hong Kong people are fighting for their freedom now then they are a bunch of money hungry jerks

Woobie46
Woobie46

REMEMBER TO BOYCOTT NIKE...always and forever!

BLMatters
BLMatters

Why don’t people wake up and protest Nike? I stopped supporting any athlete or celebrity who disrespects this (my) Country.