PHILADELPHIA (CelebrityAccess) — Two fans were ejected from an NBA preseason game on Tuesday after holding up signs and shouting slogans in support of ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
According to ABC Sports, Sam Wachs and his wife attended the pre-season exhibition game between the Philadelphia 76ers and a Chinese team, the Guangzhou Loong Lions at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.
The pair held up ‘Free Hong Kong’ signs and then, after the signs were confiscated by security, the two yelled ‘Free Hong Kong’ before being removed from the game.
Wachs told 6ABC that he was told there was “There’s no foul language, no politics.” at the game. “I asked ‘Why not?’ They said, ‘Don’t give me a hard time,'” Wachs told Action News.
The NBA has found itself in the spotlight for its reactions to the protest in Hong Kong after a now-deleted tweet by Houston Rocket’s GM Daryl Morey earlier this week voiced support for the protestors.
The tweet prompted a quick reaction from China, including the cancellation of the broadcast of a pair of preseason games in China later this week. While the NBA took a conciliatory approach with China following the discord, they stopped short of apologizing for Morey’s tweet, noting that he has the right of free expression.
“Daryl Morey, as general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during a press conference on Tuesday. “What I also tried to suggest is that I understand there are consequences from his freedom of speech and we will have to live with those consequences.”
Other fallout from Morey’s tweet included at least one Chinese sporting goods company canceling deals with the Rockets, and Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent, which has a $1.5 billion contract with the league over the next five seasons, pulling upcoming broadcasts of Rockets Games, ABC News reported.