Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta says he backs the thousands protesting racial injustice across the country following the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.
"We know this, there's bad journalists, there's bad CEOs, there's a few bad cops, and there's a few bad protesters, and it's so disappointing because I love that they're protesting," he said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" Tuesday. "That's what makes America great.
"And remember, we got in trouble, my team, earlier in the year because we commented about something which was such a disappointment, because that's what makes America great. And I just hate that we have to see the coverage of a few negative things when it's such a great issue to be protesting about."
Fertitta was referencing a tweet that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey made in October. Morey posted a graphic in support of Hong Kong protesters, who were objecting to China's control over the region and local police brutality.
Fertitta quickly attempted to distance the organization from Morey's tweet before the GM deleted it.
Despite erasing the post, Morey angered the NBA's partners in China, who promptly cut several ties with both the league and the team.
However, Fertitta, who owns multiple businesses, said Tuesday that he supports any of his employees who decide to speak out on U.S. issues.
"First off, speaking up of an issue in America and speaking up when an issue that's somewhere else in the world are two different matters," he said. "In America, we have free speech and we can do whatever we want to do and say whatever we want and not be penalized because of it. And that's why we all love this country so much.
"I 100% believe that you should not be a political organization because we have 60,000 employees and 100 million customers and we don't always agree. It's usually 50% one way and 50 percent this way, but when it comes to an issue like this in America, you sure should speak out and say exactly what you want."
The Rockets are one of several NBA teams that have released a public statement following the death of Floyd. They condemned the "senseless death" of the 46-year-old, who grew up in Houston.