Report: Nets Canceled Suite For Daryl Morey After Criticizing China, Highlighting Owner Joe Tsai's Commitment To CCP

As a public figure in both China and the United States, Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai often appears in the crosshairs of the American media, which occasionally challenges Tsai to address the human rights violations committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

A new ESPN report entitled "Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai is the face of NBA's uneasy China relationship" is just the latest such occasion. The report focuses on the Nets owner's divided loyalties between America and its freedom and the NBA, which has strong financial ties to China.

The report argues that Tsai has clearly chosen a side.

As co-owner of Alibaba, Tsai is one of the most influential figures in China, and his commitment to the CCP has been well-documented.

One particular incident in 2019 raised red flags in America. That year, Tsai's Nets reportedly prevented then-Rockets general manager Daryl Morey from availing himself of a suite at Barclays Center, the Nets' home arena. Many suspect that the reason for the snub was Morey's recent tweet, which said, "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

Morey's support for Hong Kong sovereignty alarmed the CCP and, by extension, Tsai.

Though he denied knowing anything about the refunded Barclays Center suite, Tsai repeatedly took Morey to task over the political tweet. He also reportedly campaigned for Morey to lose his job because of it.

“The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities,” Tsai said at the time. “Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government but also for all citizens in China.”

He added: “The one thing that is terribly misunderstood and often ignored by the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable.”

The CCP backlash against Morey and his tweet reportedly cost the league hundreds of millions in revenue as China began to ban television broadcasts of the NBA.

The NBA, which accrues nearly $500 million in revenue from the Chinese market annually, issued Morey a warning. But that condemnation of Morey ruffled feathers here in the States because of the atrocities committed by the CCP.

The ongoing enslavement of roughly 12 million Uyghurs in China's Xinjian region has long been condemned by freedom-loving Americans and others across the globe.

Not only has Tsai ignored this tyranny. Through his tech company Alibaba, which has been generally run by the Chinese government and which provides surveillance technology in Xinjiang, Tsai has actually helped facilitate it.

"Under Tsai's leadership, Alibaba funded companies that helped China build 'an intrusive, omnipresent surveillance state that uses emerging technologies to track individuals with greater efficiency,'" relayed the ESPN report.

NBA center and current free agent Enes Kanter Freedom has built his social justice platform on liberating the Uyghurs and holding China accountable. The NBA effectively blacklisted Kanter Freedom for speaking out against China. Speaking out against China has consequences, which may be one reason Tsai stays mum.

Despite his silence on the Chinese regime, Tsai has ardently championed social justice in America. Tsai raised $50 million for the Social Justice Fund and another $250 million for various anti-Asian American discrimination groups.

In an interview with CNBC back in June 2021, Tsai was pressed about the disparity between his social justice initiatives in the United States and his tolerance of China.

Tsai opted to bob and weave through the questioning.

"You have to be specific on what human rights abuse you're talking about," Tsai told Andrew Ross Sorkin, "because the China that I see, the large number of the population — I'm talking about 89 percent of the population — are very, very happy with the fact that their lives are improving every year."

"If you talk to a parent in China, and you ask them, 'Are your children going to have a better life than you are?', most of them would say, 'Absolutely yes,'" Tsai noted.

He then called American criticism of the CCP a byproduct of "a different set of values."

"I think there’s a lot of criticism of, you know, the democratic freedoms or freedoms of speech is being suppressed. But overall, since they instituted the National Security Law, everything is now stabilized."

Tsai's commitment to China remains the elephant in the room as the NBA continues to push social agendas but doesn't account for its own overseas partner.

Read the full report here.

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)