China's state broadcaster, CCTV, has canceled plans to air two NBA preseason games taking place in the country this week after commissioner Adam Silver doubled down on the league's support of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and his since-deleted tweet backing Hong Kong protesters.
Silver initially addressed the issue Monday, voicing regret for Chinese fans offended by Morey's tweet but explicitly supporting the Houston executive's freedom of expression. Silver issued a statement Tuesday reiterating the league's stance, writing the NBA's position "is about far more than growing our business."
"Values of equality, respect, and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA - and will continue to do so," read Silver's statement. "As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game."
The statement drew the ire of CCTV, which announced it would no longer broadcast Tuesday's and Saturday's preseason contests being played in China between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.
"We're strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver's claim to support Morey’s right to freedom of expression," CCTV said in a statement obtained by Stephen Wade and Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. "We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech."
The broadcaster also announced it is reviewing any activities associated with the NBA.
Silver said the league didn't expect CCTV to take such measures but added it does not change the NBA's position.
"If those are the consequences of us adhering to our values, I still feel it's very, very important to adhere to those values," Silver told reporters at a press conference in Tokyo prior to the Rockets' preseason game against the Toronto Raptors, according to Wade and Reynolds.
Silver wrote in his Tuesday statement that while the league recognizes the U.S. and China have different political systems and beliefs, both sides can still "respect and value" one another, adding it is not the league's responsibility to "adjudicate those differences."
"The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees, and team owners say or will not say on these issues," Silver wrote. "We simply could not operate that way."