WASHINGTON (KRON/CNN) — President Trump spoke Wednesday about the NBA’s continuing struggles with China, but denied to criticize China’s handling of the free speech dispute.
When asked about whether he thinks China is wrong to pressure the NBA over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters in their conflict with China’s government, Trump didn’t answer the question.
Instead, he took the chance to blast two NBA coaches — a few of his most vocal critics in the league.
“I watch this guy Steve Kerr, he was like a little boy,” Trump said. “He was so scared to be even answering the question. He couldn’t answer the question. He was so scared, he was shaking, `oh, I don’t know, I don’t’, he didn’t know how to answer the question. And yet he’ll talk about the United States very badly. I watch (Gregg) Popovich, sort of the same thing. But he didn’t look quite as scared, actually. But they talk badly about the United States, but when it talks about China, they didn’t want to say anything bad. I thought it was pretty sad actually.”
Steve Kerr has been vocal on social media, taking jabs here and there at 45 and his administration.
To be clear, Kerr was asked if he had any comments on the China controversy.
His response: “Actually I don’t,” he said. “It’s a really bizarre international story and a lot of us don’t know what to make of it. Its’ something I’m reading about just like everybody is. But I’m not going to comment further.”
When asked to clarify if Trump thought it was OK for the Chinese government to pressure the NBA over Hong Kong, the president didn’t directly answer, saying they “have to work out their own situation,” and that they “know what they’re doing,” but he continued to lament the league’s treatment of the us.
“I watched the way Kerr, Popovich, and some of the others who are pandering to China and yet to our own country they don’t, it’s like they don’t respect it. It’s like they don’t respect it.”
ESPN reports that an ‘NBA cares event’ in Shanghai was canceled Wednesday, just hours before it was scheduled to begin.
The NBA would say only that calling off the event, which was supposed to benefit the Special Olympics, was not its decision.
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