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Nets owner Joe Tsai reportedly tried to get Daryl Morey fired over tweet

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai lobbied to have former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey fired over his controversial 2019 tweet supporting democracy in Hong Kong, a new report claims. Tsai, the Taiwanese-born billionaire who made his fortune as Jack Ma’s right-hand man when the two co-founded online retail giant Alibaba, leaned on the NBA to terminate Morey after he tweeted: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” ESPN reported. Supporters of Morey, a highly valued executive who is currently the president of the Philadelphia 76ers, believe it was Tsai who orchestrated the behind-the-scenes campaign to have him ousted. Morey’s backers also believe Tsai denied Morey access to a luxury suite at Barclays Center, the Nets home arena, for a game against the Rockets. According to ESPN, both the Nets and the NBA deny that Tsai tried to get Morey fired. The Nets have also denied the claim that Morey wasn’t permitted to sit at a Barclays Center luxury suite for the Rockets game. Morey’s tweet, which was in response to growing protests in Hong Kong against Beijing’s meddlesome policies in the once-independent city-state, prompted the Chinese Communist Party to scale back its business ties to the NBA. The league lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue after games were blacked out on China’s official government-run television networks. China-based sponsors also renounced their partnership agreements with the NBA in response to Morey’s tweet. Tsai has been criticized by human rights advocates for his company’s close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Alibaba has been accused of furnishing the Chinese government with surveillance equipment that it has used to allegedly round up Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and place them into forced labor camps, according to The New York Times. China has denied allegations it has committed crimes against humanity. At the time, Tsai was critical of Morey’s tweet, saying that the damage to the league’s relationship with China “will take a long time to repair.” Morey later posted an apology. “I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Daryl Morey wrote in a series of tweets. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.” Morey added: “I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention.”

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