Fox News Mocks 'Fake Woke' NBA For Apologizing to China After GM Praised Hong Kong Protesters

A large cast of Fox News figures and Republican lawmakers ridiculed the NBA Monday for apologizing to China after a Houston Rockets general manager tweeted out his support for Hong Kong protesters.

The wide swath of right-wing political characters lashed out at the NBA for disavowing Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for a Sunday tweet, which offered his support for the anti-extradition Hong Kong protesters. Fox News contributor Guy Benson mocked the "disgusting" professional basketball league's previous hard-line stances on so-called "liberal" issues, including opposition to a North Carolina anti-transgender bathroom bill and dropping the use of the word "owners" as a means of rebuking slavery comparisons. Morey later apologized and deleted his tweet after the league, and several top franchise figures disavowed his pro-demonstration tweet.

On Sunday, Morey tweeted a now-deleted image with the words "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, piled on the league as "shameful" for trying not to "upset the communists" in the Beijing government. Benson blasted the NBA for not being "woke enough" to call out the Chinese government for Muslim concentration camps and other indiscretions when there's a potential billion-dollar fan base at stake.

"They've really gone out of their way to say 'look at us, we are progressive and woke in the NBA,' but not when it comes to trying to cultivate a massive new lucrative emerging fan base in an authoritarian country of a billion people, a communist Chinese government in Beijing," Benson said on The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.

"Not only are they staying neutral on apparently issues like Hong Kong, I would love to know what the NBA thinks of concentration camps filled with Muslims or organ harvesting that the Chinese government forcibly does to various minorities in that country," he added. Benson also cited a 2018 Daily Beast opinion piece, which first labeled the NBA as "fake woke."

The NBA issued an official statement Monday distancing themselves from Morey's tweet, prompting even more backlash.

"We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals' educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together."

A statement in Mandarin that the league issued in China went even further, calling Morey's statement "inappropriate" and apologized for hurting the feelings of Chinese basketball fans.

"The NBA is covering for China—pathetic. Just like Hollywood. 'NBA chief communications officer said the league recognizes that Morey's tweet 'deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable,'" tweeted Fox News host Laura Ingraham. "How many times have NBA people taken shots at Trump? Or turned down invitations to the White House? But they can't criticize China?"

Several Republican lawmakers also blasted the NBA: "Thousands in Hong Kong are peacefully protesting in support of the same freedom of speech that makes America great. Meanwhile, the NBA seems more worried about losing business than standing up for freedom. Shameful," tweeted California Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

"As #Chinastrong arms the@NBA into silence still waiting for Nike & their stable of 'woke' social justice warrior/athletes to speak out," Rubio remarked on Twitter Monday. "NBA players have no problem speaking out on politics & social issues in America. But they apologize to #China for a pro democracy tweet from an NBA team executive. Hypocrites," the GOP senator added.

Numerous critics noted the hundreds of billions of dollars potentially at stake after the Chinese Basketball Association, whose president is Yao Ming, a former Rockets star center, responded by saying it was suspending its relationship with Morey's franchise. Chinese media partner Tencent, who has a $1.5 billion NBA streaming deal, has also announced it won't play Rockets games.

Chinese-Canadian Brooklyn Nets team owner Joseph Tsai responded by similarly rebuking Morey's pro-Hong Kong protester comments, prompting right-wing social media provocateur, Mike Cernovich, to declare, "NBA team owner Joe Tsai comes out in support of communist China."

Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis also chimed in Monday, saying, "This NBA-Hong Kong-China mess is fascinating. The NBA is super woke when it comes to things like made up US transgender bathroom disputes, but bent the knee to China when Daryl Morey came out in support of democracy & upset communists. Shows you how hypocritical the league is."

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta immediately jumped on and said Morey does not speak for the Rockets organization: "Listen. Daryl Morey does NOT speak for the Houston Rockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization."

nba china daryl morey controversy
A large cast of Fox News figures and Republican lawmakers ridiculed the NBA for apologizing to China after a Houston Rockets general manager tweeted out his support for the Hong Kong protesters. Screenshot: Fox News

NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass responded, saying the league recognizes Morey's tweet "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together."

Morey ultimately deleted his tweet and completely stepped away from his pro-demonstration comments after the league and franchise's rebuke. Morey said he should have "considered other perspectives" and didn't mean to "cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China."

Fox News Mocks 'Fake Woke' NBA For Apologizing to China After GM Praised Hong Kong Protesters | U.S.