"We all talk about this freedom of speech. 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, when you're only thinking about yourself," the Los Angeles Lakers star said Sunday, according to the Washington Post's Ben Golliver.
"I don't want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke," James added. "So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So, just be careful (about) 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."
James later clarified that he meant that Morey wasn't educated about the potential consequences of his since-deleted tweet, as opposed to the content of the post itself, and didn't consider the timing of his comment.
For the Lakers, Morey's timing couldn't have been worse. He posted his tweet Oct. 4, days before James and his teammates were set to face the Brooklyn Nets in a pair of preseason games in mainland China on Oct. 10 and 12. With many of the league's Chinese sponsors canceling events and pulling out of the exhibition matchups in protest, there was fear the games wouldn't happen at all.
With the barometer rising, the Nets and Lakers reportedly met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Oct. 9 to discuss how to proceed, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. Although Silver encouraged the players to publicly echo the league's position in support of freedom of expression, James reportedly called on Silver to first better explain the situation before asking players to represent the league's position on complex political issues, citing player safety among his concerns.
That initial meeting with Silver was reportedly followed by a players-only meeting led by James, with all players from both teams present.
Ultimately, the two games proceeded as scheduled, but with media availability for both teams canceled.