The 76ers are the second team that Chinese streaming giant Tencent has stopped live broadcasts of their games.
This is in apparent protest of Daryl Morey, who became the Sixers president of basketball operations on Nov. 2.
On Oct. 4, 2019, Morey, while general manager of the Houston Rockets, voiced support for Hong Kong anti-government protesters in a tweet that was later deleted. It stated, “Fight For Freedom Stand with Hong Kong.”
Tencent stopped streaming Rockets games after that. This season, it has offered text updates only for Sixers and Rockets games.
State broadcaster CCTV, which holds China’s exclusive TV rights for the NBA, has not aired any games since the season opened Dec. 22.
Last year the NBA backed Morey’s right to free speech. CCTV then pulled broadcasts, although it made what was a “goodwill” gesture by airing Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.
Last week, Morey told ESPN that he once feared his tweet supporting Hong Kong activists might end his NBA career.
Asked in the ESPN article if he regretted his tweet, Morey said, “I’m very comfortable with what I did.”
Contacted Wednesday by The Inquirer, a Sixers team spokesperson declined to comment on behalf of Morey.
In an unrelated matter, Morey was fined $50,000 on Monday for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rules for a deleted tweet about Houston Rockets standout James Harden.
On Dec. 20, Morey tweeted an #OnThisDay” quote tweet on a photo of Harden from Dec. 20, 2019, with the words, “JAMES HARDEN BREAKS CALVIN MURPHY’S FRANCHISE ASSIST RECORD.”
The tweet was sent out from an automated app on the anniversary of Harden’s milestone, but the NBA still fined Morey.
NBA COVID-19 update
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced that of the 495 players tested for COVID-19 since Dec. 24, no additional players have confirmed positive tests.
Of the 558 players tested from Dec. 16-23, two players had positive tests.