By Jonathan Zimmerman
Dec 2, 2020
Pope Francis met last week with players and officials from the National Basketball Association, congratulating them for their human-rights activism in the wake of the George Floyd murder. After the pandemic moved all games to Orlando, the NBA painted “Black Lives Matter” on one side of its courts. And most players wore social-justice messages on their jerseys, including “Say Their Names,” “Equality” and “Enough.”
But “Fight for Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong”? Not so much.
That’s what new Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey retweeted last year, when he was still employed by the Houston Rockets. It earned him harsh rebukes from Chinese authorities as well as from several NBA players, including LeBron James. Morey quickly issued an apology for “any offense” he might have caused to Rockets fans or his “friends in China.” Distancing himself from Morey, meanwhile, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta tweeted that “we are NOT a political organization.”