The American public strongly supports the Houston Rockets general manager’s tweet regarding Hong Kong and China’s rights conflict. (Daryl Morey, the GM, tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese oversight. The Chinese reacted with disdain and business with the NBA was threatened).Only 9 percent of the public thought the Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, should be fired, with 77 percent saying the Rockets should keep him and defend his freedom of speech. 14 percent said they did not know or had no opinion.
In addition, 54 percent of the nation feels Daryl Morey should be applauded for taking a stand supporting the Hong Kong protesters, with only 19 percent saying he should not have sent the tweet because it risked valuable relationships over a foreign domestic issue. 27 percent did not know or had no opinion.
These are the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted this week among 703 adult Americans across the country on both landlines and cellphones. The Poll has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percent.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver first apologized for the tweet but later backtracked and showed support for freedom of speech. 46 percent of the public felt he handled it well, and 36 percent say he did not, with 18 percent saying they did not know or had no opinion.
52% Say Lebron James’ Comments were out of self-interest
LeBron James tweeted condemnation of Morey, claiming “he wasn’t educated on the situation” and endangered people “not only financially but physically.” Only 28 percent thought his reaction was sincere, with 52 percent saying he acted out of financial self-interest.
69% expressed concern that China has so much influence over an American professional League, with only 23 percent saying they are not concerned.
Morey’s Tweet vs. Kaepernick’s Kneeling
Comparing Morey’s tweet to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem, 47 percent said both actions should be defended as free speech, with 16 percent saying that it only applied to Morey and 5 percent saying it only applied to Kaepernick.
There are big differences between Democrats and Republicans on this comparison. 59 percent of Democrats and only 29 percent of Republicans say that they should both be defended as free speech, while 7 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans say that it only applies to Morey.
“The fundamental right of free speech seems to have carried the day in favor of Daryl Morey’s tweet,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. “It is much clearer when applied to a foreign power than to a domestic one.”