HOUSTON – The fallout continues in the controversy surrounding the Rockets’ general manager.
On Oct. 4 Daryl Morey shared a tweet expressing support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, which caused a huge rift in the relationship between the Chinese government and the NBA.
The league spent millions investing in the country, building courts, giving free broadcasting rights and bringing start players over for the preseason, but after Morey’s tweet brought that all to a screeching halt.
China’s top broadcaster’s sports channel, CCTV 5 severed ties with the NBA, announcing it would no longer air NBA games following Morey’s tweet.
The NBA initially issued a response saying Morey had a right to free speech, but sometimes words had consequences, but later said that Morey's views "have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable."
LeBron James and the Lakers were in China last week as the controversy unfolded and the Chinese government severed ties with the NBA.
James spoke on camera Monday denouncing Morey, and said Morey was misinformed or not educated regarding his tweet.
"I just think that, you know, when you're misinformed or you're not educated about something -- and I'm just talking about the tweet itself -- you know, you never know what the ramifications that could happen,” James said. “Sometimes, you have to think through things that you say that may cause harm, not only for yourself before for the majority of people."
Following his interview, James tweeted a couple clarifications in an effort to abate the firestorm that said, “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.” He followed that up by saying, “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.”
Despite his intentions on bringing clarity to his comments, James’ tweets only seemed to anger people more.
Twitter users went on the defensive and came down hard on James for being a “sellout.”
One person went through James’ Twitter history and retweeted a post where he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
That person commented, “Your words not mine.”
Even Astros pitcher Lance McCullers weighed in on the controversy sharing a variety of GIFs and memes and using the hashtag “IStandWithMorey” that seemed to express his displeasure with James’ comments.
James has not tweeted anything else in response to the controversy.
KPRC 2 reporter Vincent Crivelli reached out to Rockets for a comment on what James had to say but has not yet heard back.