Morey’s resignation came only a little more than a year after his tweet in support of a free Hong Kong triggered a firestorm from Chinese authorities. Sponsorships were canceled, NBA broadcasts were blighted out until the NBA Finals and the Rockets received numerous calls for Morey’s termination. A bipartisan counter-backlash also ensued against the NBA and Morey’s critics.
The Rockets did not fire Morey, but team owner Tilman Fertitta did his best to separate his organization from Morey’s statement. As did the NBA.
With Morey on the way out, he and Fertitta spoke with The New York Times. It was inevitable that the China controversy would come up, but both executive and owner were not interested in the topic other than saying it wasn’t an issue in their relationship.
And then they ended the interview.
NEW: "In an interview, Morey and Fertitta declined to answer questions about the China uproar and abruptly ended the interview after receiving questions about it," other than to say their relationship was unaffected by it. https://t.co/9cFpC884ck pic.twitter.com/9dSht5GaV7— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 16, 2020
“We’ve never had a cross word over it,” Fertitta said, per the Times.
It’s impossible to know for sure what went on behind closed doors with the Rockets and the NBA during the China flap, but it’s clear the Rockets don’t want to give the matter more oxygen as Morey exits the organization.
Neither man mentioned it in their official statements on Morey’s resignation either:
Statement from Tilman Fertitta and Daryl Morey. pic.twitter.com/m3jlUMD06i— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 15, 2020
More from Yahoo Sports: