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The NBA sure talks a good game about free speech rights ― out of one side of its collective mouth. Amidst China's seething anger over Houston general manager Daryl Morey expressing support for freedom in Hong Kong, NBA commissioner Adam Silver mildly defended the American's free speech rights. But on Tuesday night, two fans were ejected from an NBA exhibition game in Philadelphia for peacefully protesting against China. Talk about inconsistency.
The Sixers were playing a preseason game against the visiting Chinese team, the Guangzhou Long-Lions, and fans of that team were heckling the two protesters. So what we have here is, with two NBA teams schedule to play exhibition games in China (now in doubt because of China's anger over the Morey remarks), and a Chinese team playing in Philly, it appears Silver and the NBA are going wobbly on human rights. The NBA is more afraid of losing mega-bucks in China than Americans losing their free speech rights.
Philadelphia - Fans - Sam - Wachs - Wife
Philadelphia fans Sam Wachs and his wife (seen in photo) were kicked out of Wells Fargo Arena during Tuesday's game for holding “Free Hong Kong” and “Free HK” signs. Sam said they were silent until their signs were confiscated, and the two are seen in a photo with surgical masks over their faces, too.
“I was being heckled by fans of the visiting Guangzhou team who swore at me and repeated Chinese government disinformation,” Wachs told CNBC via Facebook. Those fans were not ejected.
NBA - Fan - Code - Conduct - Fans
"The NBA Fan Code of Conduct only prohibits fans from bringing signs with 'obscene or indecent messages. And obviously, 'Free Hong Kong' is neither obscene nor indecent," writes USA Today's Andrew Joseph.
The Sixers issued a statement saying: " ... At last evening’s game, following multiple complaints from guests and verbal confrontations with others in attendance, two individuals were warned by...
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