Sam Wachs, 33, informed CNN he and his spouse introduced face masks and “Free Hong Kong” indicators on the Wells Fargo Middle in Philadelphia for the sport in opposition to the Guangzhou Loong Lions on Tuesday.
Shortly after they held up the indicators whereas sitting close to the Chinese language bench, safety rushed to take the indicators away, he mentioned.
“They told me ‘no politics,” he mentioned. “I asked why and they told me not to give them a hard time. A little after the signs were taken away, I stood in my seat and chanted “Payment Hong Kong” until security escorted us out.”
A video shot by Wachs reveals him and his spouse being ejected from the sport.
The 76ers launched a press release to CNN on Wednesday.
“At last evening’s game, following multiple complaints from guests and verbal confrontations with others in attendance, two individuals were warned by Wells Fargo Center staff about their continuing disruption of the fan experience. Ultimately, the decision was made by Wells Fargo Center personnel to remove the guests from the premises, which was accomplished without incident,” the assertion mentioned.
Wachs, who lived and labored in Hong Kong in his 20s, mentioned protesters there “are seeking to preserve their democracy.”
“There is nothing controversial about the Hong Kong protesters demands,” he mentioned. “In my experience, Hong Kong people did not want China dictating their politics and way of life. They were concerned about the increasing level of Chinese influence in the Hong Kong government.”
Calling himself “a huge NBA fan,” Wachs accused the league of bending over backwards “to appease the Chinese government.”
“The NBA claims they are not political, but they are not only cooperating with the Chinese government, but also helping to spread their disinformation and silence protest. It’s greedy and shameful.”
“My favorite team (the Sixers) tried as hard as they could to avoid the issue. It was really disappointing and something I felt I couldn’t ignore,” he mentioned.
Earlier this week, Daryl Morey, the overall supervisor of the Houston Rockets, tweeted his help for the demonstrations in Hong Kong.
His submit, which has since been deleted, included a picture that learn, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The previous British colony, now managed by China, has been rocked by months of political unrest.
A number of Chinese language companies determined to droop ties with the Rockets following Morey’s remarks.
Initially, the NBA mentioned that it regretted Morey’s views, recognizing that they “have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.”
He additionally acknowledged the league’s preliminary response left folks “angered, confused or unclear.”
On Tuesday, China’s CCTV’s sports activities channel mentioned they will not broadcast or stream NBA preseason video games held within the nation.
CNN Enterprise’ Michelle Toh, Charles Riley, and Wayne Sterling contributed to this report