NBA superstar LeBron James believes Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey “was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation” regarding the potential consequences of his actions when he tweeted in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
James made the comment in his first public appearance since the Los Angeles Lakers returned home from a strange week-long tour of China immediately after Morey’s incendiary tweet.
James’s lengthy answer to a question about whether the Houston executive should be punished for his tweet didn’t appear to specifically address the merits of Morey’s support of Hong Kong sovereignty.
The three-time NBA champion instead characterised the international incident caused by Morey’s post as a cautionary tale about the power of social media.
“Yes, we do have freedom of speech,” James said.
“But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, when you only think about yourself.
“I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke.
“So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually.
“So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do.
“Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”
When asked to clarify his thoughts, James went further.
“I believe (Morey) was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation, and if he was, then so be it,” James said.
“But I have no idea. That’s just my belief…”
A Rockets spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment Monday night on James’s remarks.
James’s comments set off swift reaction on social media, with many perceiving his comments as criticism of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
— Tam M (@ttam_mm) October 15, 2019
James addressed the issue again in two tweets before the Lakers’ pre-season game against Golden State at Staples Center, in which he
“Let me clear up the confusion,” James tweeted.
“I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that…
Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk About that.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2019
“My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others.
“And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it.”