LeBron James declined to come out in support of the protesters in Hong Kong in his first public comments about a post on Twitter that an NBA general manager made earlier this month that set off an international crisis.
Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted “Stand with Hong Kong.” The NBA’s Chinese partners began suspending relations with the league and a number of people in the league have refused to come out in support of Morey, including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Rockets star James Harden.
James, a Los Angeles Lakers player who was in China to play an exhibition game, weighed in on the situation for the first time on Oct. 14.
“I don’t want to get in a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey. But I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James said before the Lakers’ preseason game against the Warriors on Monday at Staples Center.
“So many people could have been harmed, not only financial but physically, emotionally, spiritually. Just be careful what we tweet, what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”
James said he meant the general manager wasn’t well-informed about how China, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party, would react to the tweet.
“I believe he was misinformed or not really educated on the situation,” James said of Morey.
“If he was, so be it. I have no idea, but that’s my belief. When you say things or do things, you’re doing it and know the things that can be affected by it and the families and individuals that can be affected by it. Sometimes it can be changed as well. Sometimes social media is not a proper way to go about things as well. That’s just my belief.”
“When you’re misinformed or not educated about something—I’m just talking about the tweet itself—you never know what the ramifications that can happen. We all saw what that did,” James added.
James did not say what his own stance on the situation in Hong Kong is. He’s been outspoken about President Donald Trump and a variety of social issues in the United States but became the latest player to not speak out against China, saying he only speaks about things he’s knowledgeable about or passionate about.
Morey followed up his initial tweet with two other missives, writing on Oct. 6: “I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.”
1/ I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 7, 2019
“I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA,” he added.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly distanced himself and the team from Morey’s pro-Hong Kong tweet and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver apologized for the tweet. After a backlash from fans, Silver later said the NBA supports free speech.
James took to Twitter later Monday, adding: “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.”
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.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
“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,” he added.
‘Freedom Is Not Free’
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter, an outspoken critic of the government in Turkey, appeared to react to LeBron James after James declined to speak out in support of Hong Kong protesters.
Kanter, who has been banned from traveling to Turkey by the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reacted swiftly after James spoke.
Wow dude! ????????♂️
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 15, 2019
“Wow dude!” he wrote in one missive. “SMH,” he added in another, using the slang for “shaking my head.”
In another tweet, he listed the things that have happened to him for speaking out against Erdogan and the Turkish government.
“Haven’t seen or talked to my family 5 years,” he said. “Jailed my dad.”
Among the other consequences, according to Kanter: his siblings haven’t been able to find jobs, his own passport was revoked, and he receives death threats on a daily basis.
-Haven’t seen or talked to my family 5 years
-Jailed my dad
-My siblings can’t find jobs
-Revoked my passport
-International arrest warrant
-My family can’t leave the country
-Got Death Threats everyday
-Got attacked, harassed
-Tried to kidnap me in Indonesia
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 15, 2019
He was also the victim of an attempted kidnapping while in Indonesia, he added.
“FREEDOM IS NOT FREE,” he concluded.
From The Epoch Times