It's no secret that the Chinese government is no friend to free speech.
The statement led to even more backlash from China, with sponsorships being pulled, and the broadcast and hosting of National Basketball Association games now in serious perpetual doubt.
The Rockets are - were - the most popular NBA team in China - thanks in part to the club's history with Yao Ming - where there are a whole lot of basketball fans who buy a whole lot of NBA merchandise.
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey's since-deleted tweet read, "Fight for Freedom".
Chinese government officials didn't appreciate Morey's opinion and made that known to the National Basketball Association.
Yet there were signs that the league would try to ride out the controversy.
China's stability-obsessed Communist Party may also fear upsetting fans too much by banning the NBA, China-watcher Bill Bishop wrote in his daily "Sinocism" blog this week.
"I don't know why political conflicts affect sporting events".
As a result, its government and nationalist voices online lash out at any foreign comments perceived as challenging its territorial integrity, as Morey's tweet was widely viewed in China.
But the NBA's business with China has become politically fraught since Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted in support of the protesters. Many NBA coaches have remained largely mum on the current situation with China.
It's a nice hope, but as of now, Chinese businesses are pulling away from ties to the league.
FALLOUT: Will NBA games in China be canceled?
Money is often tethered to opinion.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was asked about the NBA-China issues earlier this week, but he declined to offer any comment.
"I don't think it's inconsistent, on one hand, to be sympathetic to them, and at the same time, stand by our principles", Silver added. For another, the precedent has now been etched into stone and you can bank that the Chinese government, and others, will see just how far they can slam open this door that Blizzard chose to crack.
It remains to be seen how badly the NBA's bottom line will be hit. Many people inside the country likely also self-censor because they are aware of the consequences of posting content that could get them in trouble with the government.
It's not always good for business, but it's for the greater good.
It's complicated. The NBA wants to continue its bond with China, using the country to help popularize its brand, but Morey's tweet perhaps hinted that not everybody in the NBA is so supportive about the country's treatment of Hong Kong, which has been under Chinese control since 1997 with promises of a "one country, two systems" plan, according to the Handover of Hong Kong agreement.
Freedom can be expensive.
Ross provided another example in which a Taiwanese student told fellow students in London that "I may look Chinese, but please don't think I am Chinese".
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Jake Scott weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.
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