The NBA apologized to CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane after silencing her question regarding China at a Thursday Houston Rockets media conference in Tokyo.
NBA stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who were taking questions at the post-match conference, were not allowed to answer Macfarlane when she asked whether either of them would “feel differently” about discussing political topics “in the future.”
The NBA said it apologized to the CNN reporter Thursday, saying, “During today’s Houston Rockets media availability, a team representative interjected to prevent CNN’s Christina Macfarlane from receiving an answer to her question. We apologized to Ms. Macfarlane as this was inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events.”
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) October 10, 2019
The Houston Rockets’ media officer said Harden and Westbrook were only answering basketball-related questions once MacFarlane was finished asking the question. (RELATED: Security At NBA Game Confiscated Pro-Hong Kong Signs. Fans Are Pushing Back)
“It’s a legitimate question. This is an event that’s happened this week during the NBA. … This particular question has not been answered,” MacFarlane responded, but the Rockets media officer would not allow Harden nor Westbrook to answer the CNN reporter.
Watch the moment CNN’s Christina Macfarlane was quickly shut down by the Houston Rocket’s media officer as she tried to ask a question about the NBA’s ongoing standoff with China.
— CNN Sport (@cnnsport) October 10, 2019
Before the post-game news conference, Macfarlane asked Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni if he had a message for Chinese Rockets fans, according to CNN. (RELATED: American Renewal: NBA’s Surrender To China Shows Money Still Talks Louder Than ‘Social Justice’)
“It’s a tough situation, very difficult,” D’Antoni said. “Adam Silver speaks for the NBA. I work for the NBA. I go with Adam. Commissioner Silver will do the right thing.”
Mcfarlane’s question came as the NBA faces intense scrutiny after the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted a now-deleted pro-Hong Kong statement on Oct. 4. The Chinese Basketball Association suspended ties Sunday with the Houston Rockets as a result of the tweet, according to NBC News.
Eleven of the NBA’s Chinese partners have since suspended relationships with the league.
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