Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James criticized Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for sending a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests while the NBA was preparing to host a series of games in China. Speaking with reporters for the first time since Morey posted the tweet on October 4, James said that believes Morey was "not really educated" about the protests in Hong Kong and did not think about the possible ramifications of sending out the tweet.
"I believe he was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation, and if he was, then so be it," James said. "I have no idea, but that is just my belief. Because when you say things or do things if you are doing it and you know the people that can be affected by it and the families and individuals and everyone that can be affected by it, sometimes things can be changed as well. And also, social media is not always the proper way to go about things as well, but that's just my belief."
James was asked if he felt that Morey should be punished for sending out the tweet.
"I'm not here to judge how the league handled the situation. I just think that when you're misinformed or you're not educated about something – and I'm just talking about the tweet itself – you never know the ramifications that can happen," James explained. "We all see what that did, not only did for our league but for all of us in America, for people in China as well. Sometimes you have to think through the things that you say that may cause harm not only for yourself but for the majority of people. I think that's just a prime example of that."
James faced swift backlash for his comments. He was mocked by people on social media, including one person who joked that Lebron, whose nickname is King James, should now be referred to as "Chairman James."
"The thing is, LeBron, we've come to expect more of you. You're obviously an intelligent person, a compassionate person, and a socially conscious person. At this point in your life and career, it's part of your brand," Wolken wrote. "But to present that face to an American audience while essentially admitting that all you care about when it comes to the rest of the world is cashing those big checks — well, let's just say it doesn't look very good on you."
Protesters in Hong Kong were not happy with LeBron's comments either and, according to TMZ, burned his jerseys in the street.
James took to social media to clarify his comments.
"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," James said in a tweet.
"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," James wrote in a second tweet.
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