The NBA incited outrage Monday after online users noticed the league's official website would not let fans purchase customizable jerseys with pro-Hong Kong messages — but did allow anti-police and anti-Semitic messages.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, when a user typed "Free Hong Kong" as the customizable message on a jersey, the NBA's official website returned the following message, "We are unable to customize this item with the text you have entered. Please try a different entry."
The NBA bans you, the fan, from putting #freehongkong on customized league jerseys even as they allow players to we… https://t.co/yoGErPp1td— Clay Travis (@Clay Travis) 1594661881.0
However, the website did allow fans to purchase jerseys with the following phrases, among others:
- F**k Hong Kong
- Abolish cops
- Sneaky Jews
- Cancel Israel
- Pence is gay
- Trump has AIDS
One reporter, the Daily Caller's David Hookstead, even called the NBA store's customer service. A sales representative told him that he was not permitted to buy a jersey with the phrase "Free Hong Kong," but could buy one that said, "KillCops."
Here is audio of the NBA store telling me I can't buy a FreeHongKong jersey, but I can buy a KillCops jersey. Even… https://t.co/5asQ78MeF0— David Hookstead (@David Hookstead) 1594671082.0
The NBA infamously kowtowed to China last year after a Houston Rockets executive praised the freedom movement in Hong Kong.
How did the NBA respond?
Update: In a statement provided to TheBlaze, a spokesperson from the NBA stated that the decision was made by the company Fanatics, which manages their store, and that a spokesperson from Fanatics has provided them with the following statement: "The phrase was inadvertently prohibited on all our league online store sites and has now been fixed. Fans who wish to customize it, so long as the text meets the 12-character limit, are able to do so."