The NBA has apologized to a CNN reporter after a spokeswoman attempted to block her question about the ongoing controversy involving Hong Kong.
The NBA said the spokeswoman “inappropriately interjected” while CNN’s Christina Macfarlane was asking two Houston Rockets players whether the NBA’s response to one of its own employees speaking out about the issue might influence their decision to do the same about other hot-button topics in the future.
“We’ve apologized to Ms. Macfarlane as this was inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events,” NBA chief spokesman Michael Bass said in a statement.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 10, 2019
MacFarlane attempted to ask Houston Rockets players James Harden and Russell Westbrook if they “feel differently” now about speaking out politically in the wake of the NBA distancing itself from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters.
An NBA spokeswoman swooped in stopping the players from answering, saying they’d answer “basketball questions only.”
The controversy was ignited earlier this week after the NBA responded to Morey’s tweets by calling them “regrettable,” sparking bipartisan backlash from U.S. politicians.
China has also criticized the NBA for the tweet with several businesses cutting ties with the association and causing some NBA events scheduled in China to be canceled.