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Shaq Defends Daryl Morey Amid NBA-China Controversy: ‘One of Our Best Values in America Is Free Speech’

Shaquille O’Neal today defended Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, whose tweet about supporting protesters in Hong Kong set off massive international controversy and criticism of the NBA for caving to pressure from China.

LeBron James was criticized for saying that Morey “wasn’t educated on the situation” when he tweeted. Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich also received criticism for sidestepping in their public comments on the matter.

During the pregame show on TNT earlier tonight, O’Neal weighed in by saying, “One of our best values in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want to say and we’re allowed to speak up about injustices, and that’s just how it goes. And if people don’t understand that, that’s something that they have to deal with.”

And he made it clear that “Daryl Morey was right”:

“Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say that’s not right, and that’s what he did. Again, you know, when it comes to business, sometimes you have to tiptoe around things, but again, they understand our values, we understand our values, and here we have the right to speak.”

Charles Barkley pushed back a bit, defended LeBron from the blowback he’s been getting, and said, “We all have a responsibility to our employer.”

You can watch the segment above, via TNT.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac