ESPN's Keith Olbermann attacks NBA star for apologizing to China: 'Embarrassing beyond words'

Steve Hilton: NBA controversy shows the hard reality of doing business in China

Big American businesses have been sucking up to China and turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, Fox News host Steve Hilton says.

ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann had scathing criticism for NBA star James Harden after he apologized to China over his team general manager expressing support for Hong Kong protesters.

"The @NBA’s obsequiousness on this, from @joetsai1999 to the smarmy league Statement on @dmorey to this Harden remark, is embarrassing beyond words. To stand up for the democratic freedoms we have here is to risk alienating those who would suppress them," Olbermann tweeted on Monday.

The liberal TV host was critical of the NBA's response to the matter, which tipped off with comments last week from Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager.

"It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences," he said.

Morey, in a now-deleted tweet, promoted a slogan backing protesters. It read: "Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

China's main state television broadcaster appeared to respond by refusing to air two preseason games scheduled to take place in the country. It also knocked Silver for using Morey's "right to freedom of expression" as an excuse.

“We voice our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Adam Silver offering as an excuse the right to freedom of expression,” China Central Television said, according to The New York Times.

“We believe that no comments challenging national sovereignty and social stability fall within the scope of freedom of expression.”

Morey appeared to walk back his comments on Sunday, saying that he didn't intend to offend anyone.

"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," Morey tweeted. "My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA."

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