In a startling statement on Monday, NBA superstar LeBron James criticized Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets' general manager, for his tweet supporting the protesters in Hong Kong against Chinese political aggression.
"We all talk about freedom of speech, and we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen," said James, "when you're not thinking about others, you're only thinking about yourself."
Morey had posted a tweet that offended China because it was in support of protesters in Hong Kong. The incident resulted in a public furor about communist influence on American companies.
"So I don't believe, I don't want to get into a word, or sentence, feud with Daryl, with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke," James continued.
"And so many people could have been harmed, not only financial, but physically, emotionally, spiritually, so just be careful for what we tweet, what we say, and what we do," he added.
"Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, there can be a lot of negatives," James concluded.
Here's the reaction
Critics of Chinese political oppression were angered by James' statement that appeared to criticize Morey for siding with those advocating for freedom.
"Wow is this answer by @KingJames wrong and embarrassing for him. It's one thing to duck the question. This is actively spreading disinformation," responded former Obama administration member Tommy Vietor.
"It's sad to see him join the chorus kowtowing to Communist China & putting profits over human rights for #HongKong. I was there 2 weeks ago. They're fighting for freedom & the autonomy they were promised." said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.)
"You're making Space Jam movies & money off NBA China rather than realizing the Chinese government puts people in CONCENTRATION CAMPS. How hard is it to support America & democracy?" responded Fox News contributor Britt McHenry.
James tried to add context to his comments in a tweet after receiving criticism online.
"Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet," he tweeted.
"I'm not discussing the substance," he concluded. "Others can talk About that."
Here's the video of his comments:
LeBron James on if Daryl Morey should be reprimanded for his tweet www.youtube.com