Angry Hong Kong Protesters Burn and Trample LeBron James Jerseys After His Comments on Daryl Morey Tweets

Demonstrators set a Lebron James jersey on fire during a rally at the Southorn Playground in Hong Kong, Tuesday, October 15, 2019.
MARK SCHIEFELBEIN / AP

Hong Kong protesters on Tuesday trampled LeBron James jerseys and gathered in a semicircle to watch one burn. James’ standing among basketball fans in Hong Kong took a hit over his recent comments suggesting that free speech can have negative consequences.

The protesters chanted support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who tweeted in support of their struggle on October 4, infuriating authorities in China. What the crowd of approximately 200 people chanted about James wasn’t printable.

“People are angry,” said James Lo, a web designer who runs a Hong Kong basketball fan page on Facebook. He said he’s already received a video from a protester that showed him burning a No. 23 jersey bearing James’ name.

He expects more, given the backlash from protesters who’ve been regularly hitting the streets of Hong Kong and battling police because of concerns that the international business hub is slowly losing its freedoms, which are unique in China.

“Students, they come out like every weekend. They’ve got tear-gassed and then they got gun-shot, like every weekend. Police beating students and then innocent people, like every day. And then (James) just comes up with something (like) that. We just can’t accept that,” Lo said.

James made his comments Monday in response to a question about whether Morey should be punished for his tweet.

“Yes, we do have freedom of speech,” James said. “But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others — when you only think about yourself.”

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press