Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV announced it will no longer air two NBA preseason games set to be played in the country.
The network was slated to broadcast two games between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers, one in Shenzhen and another in Shanghai, but has since removed them from its online programming guide.
In a statement, CCTV indicated the decision was prompted by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's remarks in Japan following a tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey last week which drew strong criticism in China, and prompted a major sports retailer in the country to cease its partnership with the franchise.
“Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression,” Silver said in an interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo Japan following a tweet from Morey, since deleted, that showed support for anti-government protestors in Hong Kong.
CCTV says it is also reviewing all its cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA, according to the statement posted to CCTV Sports' official social media account.
"I suggest you pay attention to the reaction and attitude of the ordinary Chinese people on this matter", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday in Beijing.
"It is not feasible to carry out exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese side without understanding China's public opinion," Geng added.