The NBA has canceled all media access for the remainder of its visit to China as it puts players in a “complicated” and “unfair” situation, it said.
The league is embroiled in a standoff with China after the Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
The announcement comes a day after CNN’s Christina Macfarlane was shut down by a Houston Rockets’ media officer as she tried to ask James Harden and Russell Westbrook a question about the NBA’s position with China during a news conference in Tokyo.
“They [the teams] 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,” said a NBA statement Friday.
Macfarlane has since received an apology, with NBA spokesperson Mike Bass saying the incident was “inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events.”
All of the league’s official Chinese partners have suspended ties with the NBA as it comes to terms with the fallout of Morey’s tweet, which has since been deleted.
The LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are set for a rematch in Shenzhen Saturday, the last game of the NBA’s pre-season tour of Asia. The Nets won the first game in Shanghai 114-111.