Cruz: ‘Really Sad to See’ NBA Censoring Free Speech in the Interest of Money

By Melanie Arter | October 14, 2019 | 11:29am EDT
(Photo by Loren ELLIOTT / AFP/Getty Images)

( – It’s “sad to see” the NBA censoring the free speech of its employees in the interest of money from China, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

Despite President Donald Trump’s assertion that the situation in Hong Kong is dying down, Cruz said “the protests are continuing full force,” and what “really illustrates just how powerful the protests are is what we've seen happen with the NBA this past week.”

“Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Rockets, … tweeted a very benign tweet where he said Stand for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong, and the Chinese communist government, they just about lost it. They got so upset. They ended up boycotting the Rockets. They ended up pulling them off TV in China. They ended up pulling them off the internet,” he said.

“They ended up canceling all of their sponsorships, and, sadly, what ended up happening is the NBA as a league began this series of apologies, and it was really sad to see an American company, and indeed, a global sports league like the NBA being dragooned into censoring the free speech of American citizens in the interest of big bucks. It's not complicated why the NBA did that,” Cruz said.

“Television and the Chinese market is worth a whole lot of money, but thankfully, a whole lot of us across the ideological spectrum--indeed I helped lead a group, a bipartisan group, of members of Congress calling on the NBA to do better to defend free speech, and I am proud to say I think the NBA is doing a better job of defending those free speech rights,” he said.

CBS host Margaret Brennan asked whether it was the United States government that should be leading the charge on free speech rather than free enterprise.

“But listen, American businesses shouldn't be in the business of censoring Americans, and we've seen this pattern whether it's the NBA afraid of losing a bunch of money in China or whether it's Hollywood censoring out any content that is critical of the communist government in China,” Cruz said.

“You know it's really an unfortunate dynamic how China uses its vast resources to promote censorship, and all of our allies are facing this increased aggressiveness of China, and we need to stand up. We need to defend our shared values,” the senator said.


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