The National Basketball Association said Friday it will not hold any media availability for the rest of its preseason trip in China. This comes amid the controversy following remarks Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey made last week in support of demonstrators in Hong Kong.
“We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China,” the NBA announced in a statement Friday to ESPN. “They have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real time.”
The league is making this decision independent of Chinese authorities, ESPN reported, citing sources.
The decision comes after Beijing mandated that no news conference be held before or after Thursday’s preseason exhibition game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets.
The second and final game in China between the Lakers and Nets is scheduled for Saturday at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre. The venue is just 20 miles north of Hong Kong, which could cause tensions to rise between the league and China.
On Thursday, CNN’s Christina Macfarlane was cut off at a Japan press conference after an exhibition game between the Houston Rockets, which have been at the center of dispute, and Toronto Raptors. Plans to broadcast two NBA preseason games were canceled and some Chinese companies suspended partnerships with the league. NBA merchandise has been stripped from Chinese stores, banners touting NBA exhibitions have been taken down, and advertising and sponsorships placed on hold over the dispute.