NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the tension between China and the Houston Rockets, which is a result of general manager Daryl Morey's now-deleted tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters.
Silver said on Monday that the league is supporting the 47-year-old executive amid the backlash and has already faced financial repercussions due to the controversy.
"There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear," Silver told Joel Fitzpatrick of Kyodo News. "There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have."
Silver added: "I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear … that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression."
Morey angered a number of corporations and fans in China by posting a tweet siding with civilians in Hong Kong, who began protesting against their government over a bill that would allow it to extradite criminals to mainland China.