Li Ning, CCTV, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank hits out at Houston Rockets after comments on Hong Kong protests

NBA team Houston Rockets is facing protest from brands like Li Ning and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in China over comments from team's general manager on Hong Kong protests.

The team's general manager Daryl Morey had tweeted an image captioned: "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong."

Morey further tried to clarify in a tweet: "I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives," he added.

"I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention."

Rockets sponsor SPD Credit Card Center said that it will suspend all marketing and publicity and that "the sovereignty of the motherland can not be challenged".

Furthermore, CCTV's sports channel on its Weibo channel stated that it strongly opposed the improper remarks posted by Daryl Morey.

Meanwhile, Joe Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA and the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba in a Facebook post said: “When I bought controlling interest in the Brooklyn Nets in September, I didn’t expect my first public communication with our fans would be to comment on something as politically charged and grossly misunderstood as the way hundreds of millions of Chinese NBA fans feel about what just happened.

“By now you have heard that Chinese fans have reacted extremely negatively to a tweet put out by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey in support of protests in Hong Kong. The Rockets, who by far had been the favourite team in China, are now effectively shut out of the Chinese market as fans abandon their love for the team, broadcasters refuse to air their games and Chinese corporates pull sponsorships in droves

“Fans in China are calling for an explanation – if they are not getting it from the Houston Rockets, then it is natural that they ask others associated with the NBA to express a view."