Chinese Basketball Association cuts off Rockets over Morey's tweet
Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Chinese Basketball Association is breaking off its relationship with the Houston Rockets due to general manager Daryl Morey's now-deleted tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests, according to Reuters' Huizhong Wu and Hallie Gu.

"Houston Rockets general manager Morey publicly made an inappropriate comment related to Hong Kong," the league's statement read. "The Chinese Basketball Association strongly opposes this and will suspend exchanges and cooperation."

It's unclear how long the suspension will last.

Morey tweeted - and later deleted - on Friday a graphic with the caption "Fight For Freedom Stand with Hong Kong," which drew immediate criticism on social media from Chinese users. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly intervened to attempt the distance the team from the political statement.

Hong Kong citizens first began protesting against the government in March over a bill that would have allowed the region to extradite its people to mainland China. However, demonstrations have escalated following several violent clashes between local police and protesters.

A number of international communities have since held their own rallies in support of the protesters in Hong Kong, which, though a part of China, has maintained a special autonomous status since being ceded by the British in 1997.

The Rockets have long been one of the most popular teams in China due to their history with players from the country, most notably Hall of Fame center Yao Ming, who is now the chairman of the CBA. Yao spent all nine seasons of his NBA career in Houston after being drafted first overall by the team in 2002.

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Chinese Basketball Association cuts off Rockets over Morey's tweet
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