NBA's Silver says league's return to Chinese airwaves is a positive
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league's return to China's CCTV after an 18-month blackout was a positive development and that engagement through sports is culturally beneficial. The NBA saw its decades-long partnership with CCTV rocked in October 2019 when Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets at the time, tweeted in support of anti-government protests in Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill.
The NBA saw its decades-long partnership with CCTV rocked in October 2019 when Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets at the time, tweeted in support of anti-government protests in Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill. China responded by taking NBA games off the air before showing them again in late March.
"I think engagement is positive, particularly through sports," Silver told reporters at a news conference ahead of Game One of the NBA Finals. "Using sports as a platform to keep people around the world talking is critically important. At the same time, I don't think it's inconsistent with our values for our game to be broadcast in China and 200-plus other countries in the world." The NBA, one of the most popular U.S. cultural exports in China, has lost "hundreds of millions" of dollars because of the blackout, Silver said, adding that the league stands behind its players and team executives right to free speech.
"Others since then have spoken out about their views around China and other places in the world, and if the consequences are that we're taken off the air or we lose money, we accept that," he said. He added that U.S. politicians who are critical of the NBA's business relationship with China tend to single the league out.
"From a policy standpoint, virtually every Fortune 100 company is doing business in China. We have an enormous, humongous trade relationship with China. Virtually all the phones in this room, the clothes you are wearing, the shoes you are wearing, are made in China," he said. "From a larger societal standpoint, this is something where we have to look to the U.S. government for direction. "And if people are suggesting now that we should no longer have trade relations with China, and I don't think they are, that's a huge global issue where we will follow the lead from our government."
(Editing by Gerry Doyle)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)