The Houston Rockets interrupted a reporter's question on Thursday, saying that their players should not be questioned on out-of-court issues, such as the continuing protests in Hong Kong.
At a press conference shortly after the Rockets. Christina Macfarlane, CNN reporter, asked James Harden and Russell Westbrook if they feel prevented from talking about current events.
"The NBA has always been a league that praises its players and its coaches who are able to talk openly about political and social issues," said Macfarlane. "I'm just wondering about the events this week and the implications we've seen, whether you both have different feelings when you express yourself this way in the future."
Then a voice outside the camera intervened: "Excuse me, we only record basketball questions. "
Macfarlane replied again that it was a legitimate question. This prompted the team representative to snap back: "It has already been answered."
The Rocket stars Harden and Westbook took the cue and remained silent as the press conference clumsily continued with the next question.
The NBA confirmed that it was the off-camera voice was that of a Rocket team representative.
"During today's media coverage of Houston Rockets, a team representative has intervened inappropriately to prevent Christina Macfarlane from CNN getting an answer to her question," a statement from the League said. We apologized to Mrs. Macfarlane This contradicted the way the NBA conducts media events.
A league official added, "Reporters may ask questions.
The NBA has been trapped in a billion-dollar Q. Since Friday morning, Missile General Director Daryl Morey has tweeted his support for anti-government demonstrators who have been on Hong Kong's streets for weeks demanding reforms in the semi-autonomous region.
Rocket owner Tilman Fertitta and the NBA immediately distanced themselves from the team of Morey's support for these ongoing protests.
For decades, the NBA has worked to build a billion-dollar relationship with China. Beijing's embrace of Beijing has been reprimanded by lawmakers across the US political spectrum.
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards have taken action this week against fans wearing shirts or signs supporting the Hong Kong protests.
Shamar Walters contributed.